Habitat unveils five homes

“Volunteers are good people,” said Arnie Foss, Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity volunteer. “I haven’t met one I don’t like.”

Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity dedicated five more of the nine new homes it volunteered to construct during 2003 on Nov. 22. The five homes are located in the Mid Town North district of Rockford, just south of SwedishAmerican Hospital. Addresses are 1322 and 1339 Fourth Ave., and 1521, 1339 and 1334 Fifth Ave.

New homeowners are the families of Dawn Hart, Debbie Moton, Kimberly Owens, Shewandra Cole, and Renna Enoch. Each family is required to contribute 400 hours of “sweat equity” to Habitat’s efforts.

The new homes bring to 47 the number of homes Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity has constructed in the Rockford area since its founding in 1988.

Roger Eggert, Rockford Area Habitat volunteer, said: “I have a good feeling when I help others. This feeling is enough to join Habitat for Humanity.”

Eggert said he has never heard any complaints from volunteers and nobody was ever bossy. He said only teaching and encouragement could be seen constantly in the construction spot of the Fifth Avenue project.

Roger joked that he had no idea what his wife would think about his volunteering, but he loved helping others without paying money for it.

“Habitat for Humanity does more than build homes,” said Ed McCaskey, board president of Rockford Habitat. “Habitat builds relationships, neighborhoods, family ties and pride in ownership. Each project attempts to eliminate boundaries of culture, status and race by sharing a common goal: the elimination of poverty housing.”

Habitat for Humanity families are selected on the prospective homeowners’ willingness to perform the required 400 hours of sweat equity, their capabilities to pay interest-free mortgage, and their need for adequate shelter assessed by the Family Selection Committee.

“We build solid houses,” said Orlyn Huwi, a volunteer as a habitat construction manager for three years. “Professionals may use six screws. We volunteers don’t know any better. We use 12 screws.”

In Florida a couple of years ago, a hurricane wiped out all buildings and houses except for Habitat homes, according to Orlyn.

Lutheran churches sponsored construction of two of the new homes. United Methodist Churches, Slumberland Furniture, and HMC Products, Inc., each sponsored construction of one of the other three homes.

Expressing gratitude by lending hands to others is looking good, according to Bob Edlen, who joined Rockford Area Habitat four years ago. Orlyn echoed Bob’s thought and pointed out he had rarely seen homeowners participate in building other houses next year after they received their homes.

“It would be nice to see them again the year, helping others,” said Orlyn.

Contact Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity at 5183 Harlem Rd., Rockford, IL 61111, by phone at 636-4573 or visit www.RockfordHabitat.org.

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