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Habitat planning veterans build

| December 28, 2012

COSHOCTON – Sue Hardesty, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Coshocton County, liked the idea of doing a veteran’s build when it was first brought up by the Rev Cliff Biggers, but the timing wasn’t right.

Plans, however, are finally starting to fall into place to make that dream become a reality.

“I talked to Jim Barstow from the veterans’ service office and Marge Pizzino from the Blue Star Mothers and they were both excited to help,” Hardesty said. “We are also working on the idea of getting funding from different (veteran) organizations in town.”

A recent brainstorming session really got all interested parties energized.

“We all left thinking yes we can do this,” said Helen Scholfield, president of the Habitat board of directors.

Habitat is currently in the process of finishing its 12th home and hopes to make its 13th home, which will be built on North 15th Street, the residence of a local veteran and his or her family.

Applications to become a partner family are due Tuesday, Jan. 15. Several factors will be considered including: You family’s actual housing need based on the suitability of your current shelter; your current income and ability to pay for a Habitat house; and your willingness to participate as a partner family. Veterans also will have to show proof of being honorably discharged.

“My office’s roll will be to spread the word to veterans who come in that we feel might qualify or are in need of a home,” said Barstow, from the veterans’ service office. “Anytime an organization steps up to help a veteran or the family of a veteran I’m all for it. I think this is a great thing for Habitat to do.”

Pre-applications to become a Habitat partner family are available in Barstow’s office.

“Our whole office is going to take an active role in promoting this project and I hope the service organizations in the county get on board too whether its financially or donating time to help build,” he said.

Pizzino also is excited to get the Blue Star Mother involved in the veterans build.

“The concept of this project fits right in with our mission of supporting active members of the military and veterans and their families,” she said. “There are so many things that we could do to help the process along from fundraisers, to speaking engagements to cooking food for whoever is working that day. The possibilities are endless for us, other veterans’ organization and individuals who want to give back to those who served their country.”

Funding will be a big part of getting this project up and running.

“We will be finishing up house number 12 and working on 13,” Scholfield said. “It cost between $65,000 and $70,000 to build a Habitat house and we try to purchase as much locally as we can.”

The houses are typically three bedrooms, but that depends on the family’s size.

“They do all have a full poured basement that can be finished for more living space if the family decides to do that later,” Scholfield said.

Partner families also have to commit to volunteer time, a $450 down payment, classes on finances, home ownership and nutrition and a credit check. They also must pay the mortgage once the house is completed, which usually takes about a year.

“We want to get rid of the stigma that we are giving away houses to the poor,” Hardesty said. “This is not a hand out. It’s a hand up.”

To find out more about Habitat Coshocton’s First Veteran Build contact Habitat for Humanity at 623-2764 or 1035 Walnut St. or the Coshocton County Veterans Service Office at 622-2313 or 318 Main St. (in the courthouse basement)

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Category: Clubs & Organizations

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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