By Kaitlin Fleming
Quenyana White, her sons David and Da’lon, as well as friends, family and sponsors for Habitat for Humanity broke ground on the nonprofit organization’s 55th house on Tuesday, July 23.
Steve Scharfenberg, the president of Habitat for Humanity, said that ground breaking ceremonies for these homes are always celebrations.
“It’s so nice to see so many people here for this joyous celebration,” said Scharfenberg during the ground breaking ceremony. “It really is such a joyful occasion. The ground breakings are great but so are the dedications when the house is completed.”
For White, the future recipient of the three-bedroom house, the occasion was joyous. She had many family members and friends there to join in on the celebration. She said she and her sons are very excited to move in.
“We can’t wait,” said White. ‘I’m looking forward to making it a home and being comfortable.”
The roughly three-acre plot of land where White’s home will be was donated by Family Savings Credit Union in 2012. The lot already contains nearly completed House 54 that was begun earlier this year. When complete it will be home to Ashley Lemons and her family. In the future, the land located on Springfield Avenue will be full of seven Habitat for Humanity houses.
Habitat for Humanity partners with volunteers and low-income families to build affordable homes, which are sold to the families at no profit and with no interest. Each prospective owner is assigned a budget coach to help the family learn the best way to use their money.
Apart from being assigned a budget coach, the organization requires prospective homeowners to put in 300 hours of “sweat equity” by working on the construction of their home or the homes of others. White has helped on a home on Adams Street and worked on her future neighbor’s home.
“I’m excited to be Ashley’s neighbor,” she said. “I’ve gotten to know her from working on her house, and it’ll be good to have her around.”
White hopes that her home will be completed in time for Christmas, Scharfenberg said no firm completion date has been set for the house, and that it all depends on volunteers.
“We need volunteers,” said Scharfenberg. “A lot of our volunteers are retired people from the community or just people with day jobs. We have to fit the construction into their schedule. The timeline of these houses depends on the number of volunteers we have, and we need a lot more.”
Scharfenberg said that Gadsden State Community College has been a huge help in the last couple of houses. The carpentry class framed the last house and the HVAC class helped with the heating and cooling system.
The electrical class helped by doing the rough-in wiring and the finishing wiring of homes in the past.
Habitat’s executive director Suzanne Scharfenberg said she is thankful for the support of the community, sponsors and volunteers who make the home building possible.
“We get such wonderful support. This is just a wonderful way to give back and put your faith in action.”
Volunteers provide most of the labor, and funds and materials are provided by individuals and corporate donors.
One of the largest streams of income for the organization comes from the annual Dragon Boat Festival, which will begin at 8:45 a.m. on August 17. All proceeds from the festival go to Habitat for Humanity.
For more information on Habitat for Humanity or to find information on volunteering, visit gadsdenhabitat.com or call 256-543-1898.