A new home for the holidays

BELLAIRE – A family has received the Christmas gift of a new home thanks to the work and vision of volunteers as part of Habitat for Humanity.

The Goff family moved in and held a housewarming and dedication Nov. 21.

“It’s like a big Christmas present to us,” said Raymond Goff.

He and his wife, Kristy both work full time at Nickles Bakery and Heartland Nursing Center respectively while living in a garage. While the housing was sufficient, they and their two children were badly overcrowded.

“This is nicer. It’s a brand new home,” he said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better home.”

Raymond said they first heard of the program from a friend who had benefited with a house. They were encourage to apply.

“It was easy to get involved,” he said. “He said, ‘it doesn’t hurt to apply.'”

He added that they received help from family and friends who lent their time to the project.

“I can honestly say I built my own house. I helped build it from the ground up,” he said.

Work began at the end of June.

The average building schedule is about 12 weeks, but the construction was delayed due to heavy demands for houses.

Belmont County Executive Director Dennis Watson noted that the ministry has constructed 22 homes in Belmont County and is in the process of constructing seven more.

He added that it is Habitat for Humanity’s mission to eliminate sub-standard housing.

“We help those who fall in the cracks,” he said, adding that the ministry considers applicants based on need, their willingness and ability to partner with the organization and donate about 500 volunteer hours, and to repay the mortgage.

“We finance homes at zero interest,” Watson said, adding that the non-profit ministry requires only payment of the principle.

“It’s a wonderful experience,” Watson said. “There are 5,000 of volunteer hours in this home.”

The house has a value of about $60,000. It is two stories with 1,300 feet and four bedrooms. Watson noted that it was the first two story structure they have built so far.

Volunteers included more than 40 students from St Bernadette and North American Martyrs of Pittsburgh who visited town for a week during the summer to raise the frame for the house. They slept at St. Johns Grade School, had bathroom services at St. Johns High School and ate at St. Johns Church.

Doug Frizzl, professional electrician, donated his time and Dave Crunelle, provided carpentry services.

Watson noted the need for quality, affordable homes in the area.

“You see homes in disrepair,” he said. “It’s a year-round need. We’re just thankful for our ministry.”

He noted the potential for building and improving the communities.

“The area is ripe with economic opportunities,” he said. “Homes equal new beginning for hardworking partner families.”

He added thanks to the communities for their contribution and the corporate partners for making the work possible.

Habitat for Humanity will consider any applicant and accept help from any volunteer without regard for race, nationality or religion.

The independent nonprofit Christian ministry operates on the premise that owning a home can be an important step toward breaking out of the cycle of poverty. Their projects have improved neighborhoods and communities by strengthening community spirit and increasing the tax base while encouraging citizen improvement through cooperative construction endeavors.

Habitat for Humanity International started in the southern United States and now operates in more than 90 countries.

For more information or to apply or volunteer, contact the ministry locally at PO Box 312, 55779 High Ridge Road, Bellaire, call (740) 671-8077 or visit www.hfhbc.org

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com