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Habitat planning Chilton home

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

The Habitat for Humanity of Autauga and Chilton Counties will be building a house for a Chilton family as its next project.

Daon Johnson talked about the project and the organization during a recent presentation to the Clanton Kiwanis Club.

The house scheduled to be built will be for a single mother dealing with some physical disabilities.

“Her son just started kindergarten this year, and she is in great need of a safe, decent and affordable home of her own,” Johnson said. “… We are very excited to have her as a family partner … She is a wonderful person to work with. She is vibrant and a joy, and despite her disabilities, she overcomes obstacles.”

Having a safe place to call their own not only helps the parents, but also has a lasting impact on the children and can be seen in improvements in their lives in “grades, attitudes and health,” Johnson said.

The house will be built to accommodate potential long-term needs related to the mother’s disabilities.

The size of the houses that Habitat and partnering volunteers construct has traditionally ranged from 1,000-1,200 square feet depending on the need of the family.

“The average construction cost is $70,000,” Johnson said. “The houses are sold to the homeowner using a 30-year mortgage. Habitat makes no money on the houses, and they charge no interest in the mortgage.”

The cost of lumber has increased in the past month, so Johnson said the organization is researching possible donations of materials from lumber companies.

“We are in need of volunteers, meals and funds to help with this build,” Johnson said. “There is always room for more help.”

A number of volunteer opportunities exist including serving on the organization’s board or a specific committee, not just working on the actual build.

“Our greatest assets are our volunteers,” Johnson said.

She said the board of directors does “need more representation from Chilton County.”

Those interested can contact Johnson at daon.johnson@habitatautaugachilton.org or 334-0365-4132 (between 8 a.m. to 2 pm.)

Monetary donations are also needed to make the house a reality. Johnson said some fundraisers that had been planned had to be canceled because of the pandemic, but the golf tournament on Nov. 5 is still being held. Visit habitatautaugachilton.org for information on donating.

Johnson said there are several people who have paid off their Habitat mortgages.

In addition to being required to live or work in Chilton County, potential Habitat for Humanity of Autauga and Chilton Counties families must demonstrate “need, ability to pay and willingness to partner.”

Applications are reviewed by the family selection committee. Houses are built within 24 months of the selection process.

The process is held every two years, if funding is available. Johnson said each family selected for the Habitat home purchase program will complete 250 volunteer hours with the organization. Those who are elderly or disabled will complete fewer hours.  These hours are mostly split between working on their home and working on another Habitat house.

Johnson said the Habitat homeowners also attend classes on budgeting, wills, home maintenance, etc.