SILVER CREEK - July 13 was workday number one at 24 Knight St. for the North County Satellite of Chautauqua Area Habitat for Humanity.
Holly Salisbury, the newest family partner and home-owner-to-be, was joined by 15 other people who worked to accomplish the yeoman's task of moving and tamping almost 15 tons of crushed limestone and tamping another 15 tons of limestone to begin the foundation for her new house.
Thanks to the help of Frank Pagano, who leveled the property and dug the footers that were filled by the limestone, work began as expected at 8:30 a.m. Included in the volunteer crew was Crystal Ingram, Habitat's third family partner whose family now resides in the Babcock Avenue home rehabilitated in 2011.
Four of the 16 volunteers for the first workday, including Donna Roof, Frank Koletar, Alison and Dave Flower, pause between transit readings as they level the foundation.
This house is different from other Habitat houses as it uses a construction method called advanced framing. Once the limestone foundation is completed, treated lumber will be used to construct the walls which will be set on a plate atop the limestone foundation. Then, trusses and a metal roof will be installed to completely close the house. Volunteers will then complete the rough plumbing and construct the wood floor. This process was selected because it offers the most ecologically sound way to build a house. The materials used have the least negative impact on the environment while assuring an energy efficient home for the new owner.
Chautauqua Area Habitat for Humanity leaders have so much confidence in the advanced framing construction process that they will begin another house of the same type in Mayville this summer. A family partner will soon be announced for that house.
A unique partnership between Chautauqua Area Habitat for Humanity, the Seneca Nation of Indians Employment and Training Program and Silver Creek Schools will allow the construction of walls to take place off-site and then be moved to the foundation. Tom Murphy, instructor in the Seneca Nation program Basic Construction, was looking for a project for his trainees and contacted Habitat Project Coordinator Dave Kurzawa who in turn contacted the school district to see if a bus bay in the bus garage would be available for this work. Superintendent Dan Ljiljanich gave permission to proceed with this effort, which allows a speedy wall construction process without worry of inclement weather.
Habitat for Humanity believes that decent, affordable housing dramatically changes a family's life by breaking the cycle of poverty; improving health, physical safety and security; providing a sense of stability and dignity; and freeing up money for other essential needs. The money that would have been spent on rent is now in a tangible investment that provides future security to the homeowner. Too frequently, renters pay exceedingly high energy bills because some properties are not adequately insulated. Habitat homes use high R-value insulation as well as other energy-saving construction techniques and products, assuring extremely low energy bills, thus providing another type of savings for the homeowner. The family itself is not worried about having to move because of landlord decisions, and more control of the quality of living is in the hands of the homeowner, thus providing additional stability to the family.
Habitat family partners, also known as Habitat homeowners, enter a community of support that can provide assistance when needed. Since each adult family partner must invest 250 hours of "sweat equity," they work alongside volunteers who have made Habitat work a personal mission. These volunteers remain as friends and supporters long after the house is completed, thus assuring a network of assistance when required.
Chautauqua Area Habitat for Humanity always seeks new volunteers and welcomes inquiries about its work. Call 934-9543 for more information about this particular house or about volunteering for Habitat. There are many different types of jobs available, so if construction is not an interest, there are still other ways to assist.