To volunteer or find out more about Habitat for Humanity of Hall County, call 770-718-1070 or visit www.habitathallcounty.org.
“Thank you,” said Maxine Harvey, tears welling in her eyes as she stood on the front porch of her new home on Desota Street in Gainesville on Friday afternoon.
Harvey is the owner of Habitat for Humanity of Hall County’s latest home, the nonprofit organization’s 50th built in the county over the past 25 years.
“It is not that uncommon an experience when we have the joy of a dedication that we have a homeowner that is so overwhelmed that the words are ‘thank you,’ because that is the deepest sentiment that can be shared with everybody that has given so readily of themselves,” said Habitat Executive Director Ann Nixon.
Harvey and her two teenage daughters, Hope and Faith, will soon move into the 1,100-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath home located in the historic Newtown neighborhood.
The girls, smiling broadly as they checked out the new home, said they were happy to finally have their own rooms.
Construction of the home was made possible through a wide network of partnerships, including the support of the Gainesville Nonprofit Development Foundation, which donated the land; and the Cottrell Foundation, which provided financial support.
“Partnerships are the core of our program,” said Habitat Building Director Tim Williams.
Volunteer support was provided by a number of groups, including students involved in the Habitat High program and local church congregations.
“There is absolutely no way that we could have even put up the first house, let alone the 50th house, without the tremendous support of the community,” Nixon said. “As we build homes, we’re building community.”
Habitat homeowners enter a 20-year mortgage with 0 percent interest held by the nonprofit organization.
Mortgage payments are then reinvested in additional home-building projects.
Nixon said homeowners can purchase their new residence at 30 to 40 percent below market value.
Prospective homeowners must also put in hours of “sweat equity” on someone else’s home before they can get their own home, while also putting down a $1,500 deposit and completing a financial education course.
The Harvey family completed 300 hours of volunteer labor.
The dedication of Habitat’s 50th home built in Hall County comes just as the organization is preparing to break ground on a 23-home subdivision slated for 43 acres of donated land off Baker Road.
The Copper Glen subdivision will include green space and a walking trail, plus a community garden.
The homes will be built over a three- to five-year timeframe, depending on funding. Each homes costs about $80,000 to complete.
Williams said the goal is to begin construction on the subdivision’s first home in June, with the hope of completing five by next summer.
Habitat raised a record $220,000 at its annual fundraiser last September, Williams said, which will go help get the subdivision started.
The organization operates on the principle of “a hand up, not a hand out,” something Heather Walls understands.
Walls, who became a Habitat homeowner in 2012, spoke before the Hall County Board of Commissioners Thursday night when Habitat received approval to proceed with its plans for the subdivision.
“It’s important for people like me … to have a stable and safe place to live,” she said. “There are good people out there that want a home that can’t afford a home and want something to leave their kids.”
Walls was in attendance at the dedication ceremony Friday, smiling, clapping and congratulating the Harvey’s on their new home.
And it’s that kind of community support that those associated with Habitat believe promises continued success for the organization.
“We’re all here on this incredible day we’ve been given to experience something that is … good and pure and noble and true,” said Hall County Schools Superintendent Will Schofield.