By Carmen M. Woodson-Wray, Gary Crusader
Through the work of Habitat for Humanity, thousands of low-income families throughout the country have found new hope in the form of affordable housing. At press time the Crusader learned in celebration of their 30th year, Habitat will hold a dedication ceremony for their 97th and 98th homes located at 1717 Adams Street and 1707 Adams Street in the city of Gary on Wednesday, June 22.
Dan Klein, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Indiana along with Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and board members of Habitat will dedicate the two homes to the Rice and Williams families.
Habitat for Humanity of Northwest was formed in July 1986. As of January 1, 2013, there are over 57 Habitat homes located in Lake County, Indiana. Building on donated land, with donated funds and constructed with volunteer labor, their mission is to provide affordable housing opportunities to those in need.
Through Habitat, they build and sell homes to low income families that have revenues that ranged from $19,150 to $51,050 per year. According to Dawn Michaels the development director for Habitat, the family has to show a need, have a decent or fixable line of credit and a steady income whether by working, receiving disability or social security funding.
The cost to build the one story, three bedroom, one bath homes start at $95,000. The construction of the homes is done by volunteers from various businesses, civic organizations and local groups that work from Thursdays to Saturdays on the projects. Some of the volunteering groups are Strack and Van Til Grocers, First Merchants Bank, NIPSCO, as well as members of the families the homes will belong to. Michaels said the families are required to put in 300 sweat hours of quality work on their homes. They can also have other family members and friends to help them to put in their required hours.
Michaels said the groundbreaking on the next three lots they plan to build on this fall are located in the 1800 block of Adams Street. She said, “We have money for three houses on 18th and Adams Street now and we are always taking donations to give a hand up and not a hand out.”
Michaels said although she has only been working for Habitat for seven months, it has been the most gratifying experience for her to be able to make a difference in some family’s life.