GARY | It takes people putting their hearts, time, donations and spirit into helping Habitat for Humanity build homes and hope.
For the dozens of people who attended Thursday’s dedication of the Habitat model home at 3777 Colfax, that message came through in testimony from partner families, clergy, business people, Habitat employees and lots of volunteers who have worked together to make home ownership possible for 57 families so far.
The model home serves as offices for support staff, a flexible meeting space for Habitat and other organizations and a direct representation of newly constructed Habitat homes, said Dan Klein executive director.
It features the 1,100-square foot design of three bedrooms and one bath. Two additional rooms were added for an office and small conference room. The attached garage isn’t part of the traditional Habitat house, but was added to provide a larger meeting room for classes and for other organizations to use for their meetings.
“This house has a great family, a wonderful employee base. All partner families come here for the Financial Peace (planning) classes. A lot of things happen here,” Klein said of the model home.
Pastor Randy McQueen of First United Methodist Church in Griffith offers the Financial Peace classes at the model home. He said during the dedication that Habitat offers “a wonderful opportunity for the region and for volunteers to be involved.”
Gary Building Commissioner Steven Marcus has been one of those volunteers for a number of years.
“I’ve been banging a hammer since I was a baby,” he said. “I’m dying to get my jeans and shirt dirty one day soon.”
Sarah Ammons and her 8-year old son, Nathan, have nearly completed the partnership approval process and hope to own a Habitat house in Lowell in the near future.
“I’m blessed to have gotten this far,” Sarah Ammons said. "Currently I’m in the Financial Peace class. I told my son about Habitat and said if we don’t get the house, it means someone else needs it more than we do. I can’t wait to give back.”
Linda Cobb began the partnership process with Habitat a year ago. She will close on her home at 609 Tyler St. in Gary on April 24.
“It’s been a joy to work with the volunteers and the staff,” Cobb said. “It’s so great to have a house, a place of my own.”
One of the new houses being built by Habitat during 2013 will be home to LaKisha Davie and her family.
“I’m truly blessed,” Davie said.
Klein said the building plan for 2013 is among the most ambitious undertaken by Habitat. Seven partner families will be able to move into homes this year. Three of the homes are being rehabbed and four are new builds, he said.
Bob Johnson, new president of the Habitat board of directors, called the experience of hearing the testimony of so many “humbling. When I see the dedication and passion of the staff, it’s humbling.”
Johnson credited the immediate past board president, Keith Brexvoort, for helping guide Habitat to build the model home and refocus its efforts.
“We can do it when we do it together,” Johnson said.