Ousted Habitat coordinator offers her side

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Editor, the News-Herald:

My husband, Big Frank and I would like to thank Allison Williams for her articles regarding South Hampton Roads Habitat for Humanity and Suffolk Habitat.

Both articles if consumed by a wise mind revealed to the reader that read between the lines that SHRHFH staged this whole scenario because they are in fear of the competition that Building Suffolk, Inc. will give them for donations in the community.

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But in their corporate thinking, they didn’t give consideration to how their actions would hurt innocent people including Rosemary Holmes.

Fran Alwood is Suffolk Habitat not South Hampton Roads and it is to her vision we will be true.

Frank has taken Rosemary’s children to heart and together they have been building special things for the new home.

Together they will be building flower planters for their new home.

All children need to be eased into new situations and especially learning disabled children.

Some of these projects they will be working on will assist them in making the transition and in taking stewardship of their new environment.

We bear in our hearts how important this is because our children were once transitioned from another state to Suffolk and we know how difficult the new situation was for them.

We all have taken Rosemary into our hearts because that is what this mission is about.

My motto is, &uot;Build a family a home and you build a family with hope!&uot;

I have cried with Rosemary’s pastor when I whispered in her ear, &uot;she is the chosen one.&uot; And Rosemary and I have cried over her joy of seeing so many in our community working to assist her in raising her children in a safe environment.

It is our volunteers who have worked side by side with Rosemary as she comes to assist in building this home.

And her new neighbors have been extremely supportive.

SHRHFH hasn’t worked as closely with Rosemary as all of us have, they haven’t gained her children’s trust and they can’t see past their noses to see we should be working in tandem for the benefit of the residents of this Suffolk community not be in competition with each other. Their idea of affordable housing is a home which costs a low-income person $95,000.

If two organizations are building houses for the low-income families of Suffolk, twice as many people will be served.

But when you lose the human factor in the equation of big business you can only see another non-profit as competition not as an asset.

I would presume that they also see the Red Cross, Impact Suffolk, Civic Leagues, Women’s Clubs, etc. as competition as well because they are all out asking for contributions to their causes from our neighbors and businesses.

SHRHFH is now agreeing to build another home for a family. They are breaking their own rules (see:

www.habitatforhumanity-shr.org/learning.htm) in order to gain visibility in this community they have been lacking.

The application was refused by SHRHFH last January when it was tardy beyond the annual deadline for being turned in.

Now that they need visibility, the SHRHFH Board is willing to break their own rules and accept the application when in fact it would not be have been considered until January, 2006 at the annual application event.

How should other Habitat applicants now feel?

This is again a stage being set by SHRHFH because Building Suffolk Inc. had chosen the family as their first family to build for.

Under our guidelines, if a group identifies itself as wanting to raise all the funds for a certain person, they can do so and our group will assist them in building the home.

The group identified the family as someone they wanted to assist and assist in such a way as that they would not have a mortgage payment when the build was complete.

Is South Hampton Roads offering a mortgage-free home as was the intention of those wishing to assist her?

I know they will not. It is not their policy.

Right now Suffolk is the jewel in the crown of SHRHFH because we are land rich and our donors are ever supportive of Fran’s mission to continue building.

Other communities are not offering up land as we do, nor are other communities expected to do as Suffolk does in supporting the total cost of building a home because their communities are not as financially or volunteer supportive.

Psalm 127:1, &uot;Unless the Lord builds the house, its builder’s labor in vain.&uot;

As Christian brothers and sisters we have come together for 14 years to build homes for the less fortunate.

Our homes are not built in vain.

The Lord has blessed this home with a good family and with eager hearts and hands that want to build in his name.

Therefore, even though I received a letter dated 5/31/05 forbidding me from going onto the property, my moral faith, my Christian upbringing tells me to cast away the shadow of doubt cast upon me and listen to the volunteers in our community whose voices are resonating loudly. They have said to me quite clearly, &uot;We need you and Frank to help us finish this home.

You are our leader.

We came together we leave together.&uot;

I hadn’t realized I had made such an impact on people. Thank-you for your continued faith.

Let none of us leave until the house is completed.

We all contributed financially and in toil. This community raised the funds for this home, members of this community donated the property and this community, not SHRHFH who does not have a vested interest in our city. We will finish this house for the family that will continue to live in this community.

We are demanding that SHRHFH

reverse their decision and allow me back on site so that we can catch up the two week delay this has caused us.

We open the door for Habitat to put aside its pettiness and join us as volunteers in completing this home.

What do you say Habitat?

Angela Koncz