Melissa Baker | Special to the News-Messenger
ELMORE – Habitat for Humanity of Ottawa County dedicated its latest home, the 29th it has built, with a ceremony on Thursday for the new homeowners, Savanah and Eddie Moses and their three children. The dedication ceremony welcomed the family to their Ames Street home with a blessing, presentation of the keys, a flag, a closing prayer, and a home tour.
The Moses family applied for the program after hearing about the program from a family friend, and in July they took part in building their home along with Habitat for Humanity crews.
“It was an easy process, filling out the application, mostly because everybody was so amazing and told us what we needed to get approved,” Savanah Moses said. “This whole process was amazing, and we actually built this house.”
The Moses family purchased the home from Habitat with a zero-interest loan, but still must pay the mortgage each month. The ability to pay a mortgage was one of the qualifications that had to be met, along with needing a home. Some Habitat for Humanity recipients had been living in badly built homes, under unhealthy conditions, or with damaged or inadequate housing.
500 hours of ‘sweat equity’ required
Homebuyers must also be willing and able to put in 500 hours of time, called “sweat equity,” to help the builders and participate in the process of building their new home. Their hours also included classes on personal finances and home maintenance, lessons that will help the Moses family keep up with the demands of home ownership.
“I learned a lot,” said Eddie Moses. “I really didn’t do any construction before and we started from the ground up. If anything breaks down, I can fix it. It’s also nice to see that you put in some work towards the house that you are now going to own.”
Most of the items for the home were donated, such as the roofing, gutters, windows, and building materials.
Family can choose color, flooring, other details
“The family gets to pick out the color, the cabinets, the flooring, and the appliances,” said Debi Heiks, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Ottawa County. “This makes them feel like they’re more involved with the home-buying process.“
Many people volunteered their hours to help with the building and in the spring, or in better weather conditions, Habitat for Humanity will help the family improve their yard with landscaping and will be adding a shed.
Habitat for Humanity also repairs and renovates existing housing, leads holistic neighborhood revitalization, helps communities clean and rebuild after natural disasters, and provides microloans for home improvement.
More information on Habitat for Humanity is available online at habitat.org. The Habitat for Humanity of Ottawa County headquarters is at 161 W. Water St., Suite B, in Oak Harbor. The phone number is 419-734-7074.