Habitat dedicates home #2

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Debbie Blaho said she found 237 references to “home” in her Bible and asked everyone to bow their heads as she asked God to bless the house at 30 Stewart Ave. The London abode, built by Habitat for Humanity of Madison County, is now “home” to the White family.

Blaho and her husband, Joe, were among the board members, volunteers and community leaders on hand June 7 for the dedication of the organization’s second Habitat for Humanity home. The first was built on Vernon Avenue in London. Plans are under way for a third house, and the organi-zation is looking for a lot.

Brian and Jennifer White and their children Zack, 11, and Paige, 9, moved into their new home in February, but the dedication was postponed until spring because of weather. The 1,200 square-foot house has four bedrooms, one of which is used as a game room. Everyone claims it as their favorite, except Jennifer who prefers the cozy living room.

Zack’s room is a shrine to The Ohio State University with scarlet curtains and OSU decals on the walls. The Buckeyes are not just his favorite football team; he and his dad say it’s the “only” team. A poster of Ted Ginn Jr. reigns over Zack’s collection of sports trophies.

In contrast, Paige is in love with her “princess room” decorated in pinks and purples with butterflies aplenty. Pink netting flows from a ring near the ceiling down around her bed.

“Yes, this is all-girl,” Jennifer said of her daughter’s room.

Before purchasing their new home, the Whites lived in a home on First Street for five years. The structure was considered substandard by Habitat for Humanity, one of the criteria the organization considers when selecting a family for a home.

Habitat houses are not given away. Qualified buyers pay the cost of materials through no-interest mortgage payments to Habitat for Humanity. 

All of the construction work is done by volunteers using as much donated material as possible. The buyers are required to volunteer about 500 hours working on the house as “sweat equity.” 

Purchased material was paid for by a grant from First Energy. The City of London provided grant money for the first Habitat home, and the Madison County commissioners will provide partial funding for the third.

To prevent a buyer from abusing the program by “house flipping”—buying low then quickly selling high—Habitat holds a first and second mortgage on the property. The first mortgage is for the cost of materials; the second is for the difference between the low cost and the market value of the home.

As long as the new home owners live in the house, the second mortgage is annually forgiven. 

“Our mission is to provide affordable housing,” said board member Saundra LaPrise during the ceremony. She thanked the volunteers, especially board vice president Don Swonger who she credited with heading up the planning, development and construction.      

The Stewart Avenue house took over 1,500 working hours over more than two years to complete, said board president Jeff Kitchen. “It took so long because we need more volunteers.”

Anyone interested in Habitat for Humanity can visit the Web site at www.madison-habitat.org or call 740-845-0653.

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