Constructing the future

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 1, 2005

It’s almost time to pull out the hammer and nails.

Building Suffolk Inc., just days after peacefully ironing out legal issues with the South Hampton Roads Habitat for Humanity Inc. in Suffolk Circuit Court, is holding its organizational meeting next month.

Potential volunteers, donors and interested citizens are invited to attend the forum at West End Baptist Church, 105 St. James Ave., from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 18.

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&uot;We want to get input from people…and share with the community what has been going on with us and where we are going,&uot; said Angela Koncz, executive director of Building Suffolk.

The new organization, created by several long-time volunteers of Suffolk Habitat for Humanity, will depend heavily on the local community for donations, she said.

The organization will have a board of directors made up entirely of Suffolk residents and new homeowners will be selected from a pool of Suffolkians, Koncz said. All money that comes into the organization through mortgages will be reinvested in new homes, she said.

Building Suffolk Inc. is a registered nonprofit with the State Corporation Commission and is waiting to receive tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service, Koncz said.

Building Suffolk is hoping to build its first house on a donated lot in Orlando in October, Koncz said.

The group has already raised $50,000 and expects to hear within the next couple of weeks whether it will receive a $25,000 matching grant from the Millard Fuller Center Housing, a new group created by the founder of Habitat for Humanity International.

Building Suffolk will begin screening nominations made by local churches to select the family that will receive the first house, Koncz said.

Like Habitat, Building Suffolk will require the occupants of the house to pay an interest-free mortgage as well as &uot;sweat equity&uot; investment of volunteer work, she said.

&uot;I believe there is room and resources for both organizations,&uot; said Koncz. &uot;There are so many people in the community needing a first home.

&uot;I believe we can work in tandem to benefit this community,&uot; she said

Koncz is confident the past conflicts between Habitat and Building Suffolk will not hinder volunteer recruitment or fundraising efforts for either organization.

&uot;I just don’t think the past will be an issue,&uot; she said. &uot;We are looking ahead.&uot;