Habitat frames pair of homes
Published 7:47 pm Saturday, October 24, 2015
Hammers, shouts, saws and other sounds of construction echoed throughout the Lake Kennedy neighborhood on Saturday as Habitat for Humanity held a “Framing Frenzy” for two homes.
“We want to get all the walls done today,” said Brad Kirkpatrick, interim executive director for Habitat for Humanity.
Throughout the morning, more than 100 volunteers drove nails under the watchful eyes of expert volunteers and Habitat staff. They cut the lumber, assembled walls, raised them into place and nailed them down.
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Among the volunteers were the owners of other Habitat homes putting in “sweat equity” hours, required of all Habitat owners, in which they help build not only their homes but others’ as well. Malika Traynham, who moved into her home nearby on Locust Street in September 2014, finished her required hours before she even closed on her home but keeps coming back for the fun of it.
“It’s fulfilling,” she said. “You’re helping someone else. I remember all the people that came out and helped build my home.”
Also volunteering was Monsurat Kadri, who moved into her Habitat home in Virginia Beach about two months ago.
“It’s overwhelming,” said Kadri, who went through a divorce and was living with her three children — ages 8, 10 and 14 — in a small apartment before she got approved for a Habitat house. “There’s no word I can describe it. I’m just grateful.”
The site eventually will include nine homes, said Chief Operating Officer Christine Early. They will be a mix of one and two stories and three to four bedrooms, ranging from 1,100 to 1,300 square feet.
Early thanked the city for donating the land for the project and for its help in getting all the necessary approvals, as well as directing federal Housing and Urban Development funds to the project.
City Council rezoned the land two years ago over the objections of local residents, who wanted to see commercial opportunities on the site.
“This is a nice project,” said Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett on Saturday. He was not on council at the time of the vote.
“When they see the houses go up, I think they’ll be proud of it,” he said of neighbors.
Brad Kirkpatrick, interim executive director for Habitat for Humanity of South Hampton Roads, said the start of the Lake Kennedy project has been a long time coming.
“It just took a long time for the paperwork to unravel,” he said.
After the last signature was obtained, he said, a team worked every day for the past nine days to pour foundations and make other preparations for Saturday’s event.
Early said a building blitz is planned next June to speed the project toward completion.
Applications are being accepted through the end of December for families to move into the homes. Habitat homeowners must have income sufficient to pay the no-interest mortgage, pass credit and background checks and meet other requirements, such as the “sweat equity.”
For more information, visit www.shrhabitat.org.