Making progress one at a time

Rick Marable, Frank Koletar, Dave Kurzawa and Mark Halter moving a piano out of the house at 29 Monroe St.

Habitat for Humanity repairs Silver Creek home

SILVER CREEK — The Chautauqua Area Habitat for Humanity, an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, is working hard toward the ultimate goal of HfHI, which is to create a world where everyone has a decent place to live. After the recent hurricane season in the U.S. and the Caribbean, this goal seems all the more daunting. However, Habitat still believes that this can be achieved by making decent shelter a matter of conscience and action.

On Sept. 16, CAHfH began the process of cleaning up the exterior of a house that will be rehabilitated for a family consisting of a mom and her four sons. The lot itself is a perfect place to play for growing boys and their friends.

The block on Monroe Street where this house is located seems to be in a state of renewal. Several houses have sold within the last few years, and new families are moving in. Most houses are receiving some well-needed attention so that their appearance is improved, and 29 Monroe is no exception. Habitat always works to contribute to the renewal of neighborhoods in Silver Creek, and with this, our fifth house, this is true.

Once the all-volunteer work crew moves into the house to start renovating the interior, including redesigning rooms and returning the house to its former beauty, the crew will also install as many energy saving measures and devices as is possible within a reasonable budget. The goal is to make this house a safe, decent, affordable one for our future homeowner.

Since families selected to become homeowners must pay both a mortgage and taxes on the house that will be constructed, every effort is being made to contain those costs so that a family whose income falls in the range of 40 – 70 percent below the Chautauqua County median income can afford to own the house and pay all of the taxes levied on it.

The kick-off workday saw 14 volunteers arrive to cut small trees, clean out the over-growth of shrubs and bushes, rake the lot and mow the lawn. Included in our first workday crew were five students from the SUNY Fredonia Habitat for Humanity Chapter. This group of eager volunteers pitched in to shovel dirt, haul debris, and contribute to the clean-up of the vacant property. We even had a neighbor, Robert, stop by to cut the lawn. What a welcome volunteer.

The Family Committee is always seeking applicants or inadequate space, who are willing to work side-by-side with volunteers to complete sweat equity hours, and whose income falls within the acceptable guidelines should call Donna Roof at 951-8111 to learn more about the qualifications and the procedures to apply for family partnership to own their own home.

The family will pay a mortgage that reflects the costs of materials, but not the cost of labor. How is this possible? Volunteers! Habitat relies solely on the good hearts, kindness, and valuable skills of its volunteers.

Some people believe that a volunteer must know construction skills in order to work side-by-side with Habitat families and other volunteers. Not true! Habitat welcomes adults of all ages to come to the construction sites and learn or use all sorts of skills from sweeping floors to erecting walls. All skill levels, including no skills, are welcome to join the project, meet other interesting people, and contribute to the wellbeing of families and the community.

Habitat needs you to volunteer!

Construction is only one of the areas where skills can be used. Also needed are bakers to supply refreshments on the workdays; people to help with community development, social media, with website development, and with fundraising.

If you can spare some time and your talents, please call 934-9543 or go to the website, to learn more about the organization and how you can help.