Suffolk Habitat plans interfaith build

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 3, 2003

Today, as ministers share God’s word from pulpits across the city, Suffolk Habitat for Humanity is optimistic that congregations will also be led to join forces with the Christian organization to provide another home for a low to moderate-income family.

&uot;Habitat for Humanity proclaims that every house we build is a sermon of God’s love,&uot; wrote South Hampton Roads Habitat Development Director Helen Hayes Sommer, in a letter circulated to area churches. &uot;It is our faith and that of our volunteers that motivates us and enables our mission.

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As servants of the Lord who are called to minister to real people living in poverty housing and real need, we are empowered by a mighty and merciful God.&uot;

According to Suffolk Habitat Coordinator Fran Alwood, plans are already underway to break ground on the city’s 16th house on September 11, a day that’s attached to tragedy in United States history. But Alwood explained that choosing this day to break ground is indeed symbolic in a positive way.

&uot;We believe that starting a Habitat home on that significant date sends a positive message: we build, we do not destroy,&uot; she stressed.

While churches have traditionally played a major role in the construction of Habitat houses, Suffolk Habitat decided it was time to put more energy into making this house a truer representation of an Interfaith build. In doing so, the group is asking all churches in the city to participate.

The United Church of Christ board has already raised $25,000 each for a house on the Peninsula and in Suffolk.

Now Habitat is looking for the other local churches to generate the remaining $25,000, of which $6,380 in cash and pledges has been received. Suffolk Presbyterian Church has given $5,000 of that.

For the 15th house already under construction in Suffolk’s Orlando community, 22 churches have donated a total of $5,520.

The remainder of the $50,000 on deposit has been received from foundations, businesses, civic groups and individuals.

A family has already been selected for this project, which will also be built in Orlando. One Habitat 1,200 square-foot house costs $55,000 to build, amounting to $45.83 per square foot.

South Hampton Roads for Humanity Inc. has constructed 106 homes in South Hampton Roads since its inception in 1988. Habitat’s mission is to eliminate substandard housing by providing home ownership opportunities to low-income families who do not qualify for a traditional mortgage. Through volunteer labor, donations of money and materials, Habitat builds houses with the homeowner’s help. Habitat houses are then sold to families at no profit and financed with affordable, no-interest loans.

For more information about his project, call 539-5780. Contributions should be mailed to Suffolk Habitat for Humanity, 620 W. Washington St., Suffolk, Virginia 23434.