Since 1976, Habitat for Humanity has been providing affordable homes for people by offering no interest loans and keeping the costs down with volunteers doing a lot of the work.
One of its slogans is “Habitat offers a hand up, not a hand out.”
Habitat for Humanity International began as a Christian service organization by Millard and Linda Fuller in Americus, Ga.
Today, the organization has built houses in more than 100 countries totaling more than 200,000 houses.
In Scioto County, the organization began its first house in 1999, and Sunday the fifth house was open to the public.
“Our goal is one (house) a year,” said Charlie Bayless, president of the Scioto County Habitat for Humanity. “The biggest holdup is money, finding the funds.”
Locally, the organization has some corporate sponsors who helped with the costs on the new house at 3730 Stanton Ave., New Boston.
The Plumbers and Pipefitters sent a crew to do the plumbing; Marty Mohr and his son put in the electric; Scott Hill did the furnace and all the duct work and insulation. A group from the Catholic Diocese came in and worked on the back yard, spreading dirt, seeding and putting down straw. Whirlpool donated the stove and refrigerator.
“These guys all donated their time,” Bayless said. “So, that saves us a lot of money.”
The house came in as a kit from Tennessee, already cut in sections and studded.
“They just set it up in place and nailed it in - attached A to B and go around the house,” he said. “The interior walls are the same way.”
Roof trusses, carpet and kitchen cabinets all came with the kit.
The new owners, David and Julie Ford, will be moving into the house as soon as the finishing touches are completed.
Bayless is retired from Sunoco, and after a long vacation, he started working with Habitat for Humanity.
“I came in to drive a nail or two and ended up being the treasurer,” he said.
Now Bayless is president and his wife, Judy, has been secretary for the past several years.
In order to qualify for a house, first there has to be a need for it, Charlie Bayless said.
“Living conditions is one of the primary (qualifications), if they are living in conditions where the plumbing doesn't work or water's poor and they don't have good sewage,” he said.
Another requirement is they must meet a minimum income standard and a maximum income standard, depending on the size of the family.
The family also must help out with the project on “sweat equity hours” while the house is being built.
“They have to earn a certain amount at the site on the house,” Charlie Bayless said. “They can earn hours by answering our phone, attending our meeting or helping with our fundraiser that we do.”
But, the family must have income that matches the basic qualifications. A credit check and a criminal check are completed also.
“The whole thing is based on median income for this area and the size of the family,” he said.
Several members will check on the family's living conditions and complete a personal interview. Then they will provide the results to the board who makes the final decision on the family most qualified for the house.
“We don't even know names, just the number of people and their circumstances,” he said.
Habitat has another lot on Glenwood Avenue in New Boston and a family has already been selected for the home.
As a faith-based organization, Charlie Bayless said even though they are getting ready to break ground on the Glenwood Avenue home, they do not have enough funds to build it yet.
“This is truly going to be built on faith,” he said.
There is no paid staff for the local Habitat, everyone is a volunteer.
“We're trying to get people aware of what we're trying to accomplish,” said Judy Bayless.