Blessings of Home

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln County presented its latest completed house to owners Sunday afternoon in Bogue Chitto.

     “I’m very excited,” said Sarah Grice, who is set to move in at the end of the month, along with fiancé Luke Ramsher, 5-year-old daughter Autumn and 6-year-old stepson Chance.

     During the presentation, Habitat officials gave Grice a Bible and the house was blessed by the Rev. Anne Matthews, rector at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Brookhaven.

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     The three-bedroom house took about a year to complete, and Habitat Executive Director Emilee Cutler said that time frame is pretty typical for construction.

     “There’s about a three-year waiting period,” she said. “But it helps those who help themselves.”

     To qualify for a Habitat house, applicants must meet three criteria: need, ability to pay for the house and willingness to help on future projects. The agency does home visits, credit and background checks and requires applicants to attend homeowner education classes.

     “When we pick a partner, we support them all the way through the process,” said Viola Cupit, the director of family services for Habitat.

     Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln County has completed 13 houses since opening in 1996 and another project is scheduled to start soon. Most Habitat houses cost between $40,000 and $50,000 and are paid through an interest-free, 30-year loan.

     “It’s not for people that can’t afford a home,” Cutler said. “It’s a hand up for people the banks wouldn’t normally look at.”

     House payments go back into a fund to help pay for future Habitat houses and homeowners are expected to volunteer on projects after their homes are completed. Grice said she’s more than happy to help.

     “I probably wouldn’t be able to afford a house otherwise,” she said. “I want to help the next family achieve their dreams.”

     Volunteers build all Habitat houses and Cupit said there is always a need for more help.

     “We get the most help during the framing stage,” she said. “After that it gets tedious.”

     Grice said she was involved with all the plans for the house, and was able to choose the flooring, countertops and fixtures. Her father donated the land for the house, and he also helped with a lot of the construction. Some of the materials were donated, including the appliances and light fixtures, while other items were purchased at a discounted rate.

     “It depends on what might be out there at the time,” Cutler said.

      Grice said she is happy to see the finished house and is ready to move in.

     “It’s a home for me and my family,” she said. “This is such a blessing to us.”