Hudson Coalition plans 25th home for Habitat for Humanity

by Laura Freeman | Reporter Published:

Hudson -- The Hudson Coalition for Habitat for Humanity of Summit County will build a new home in Twinsburg this year.

Although the Hudson Coalition did not build a home in 2013 because of changes in finance requirements, it has maintained a record of 24 homes in 24 years by building two in one year, according to volunteer Jeff Collier.

The Hudson Coalition is the longest serving coalition in Summit County and hopes to continue the work with help from residents who can volunteer time and money, Collier said.

"We have to raise the money for the house before we can build now," he said.

The group is close to the 75 percent mark for the $85,000 to build the house, he said. Many churches and organizations provide teams and funding for the work.

The Burton D. Morgan Foundation matches any "new money" donated and not previously pledged to the Hudson Coalition up to $10,000.

"It's very nice of them," Collier said. "We're at $5,000 of the $10,000 new money."

All the money donated goes to building the house, Collier said. None of it goes to administration costs.

Habitat for Humanity of Summit County began building homes in 1987, when it was started in Akron, according to Jim Sukys, director of development. Habitat for Humanity is a national organization but each affiliate is run independently, he said.

In the past, Habitat for Humanity began building a home and then raising the money, but since 2013, the money is raised up front, Sukys said.

"It's different economy and world for fundraising," Sukys said. "It's more fiscally responsible by raising the money up front."

Volunteers work in teams, usually about 10 workers on a Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Groundbreaking is usually in May, Collier said. The home is dedicated and a family takes the keys before the end of the year.

"We try to get the family into the home before the holidays," Collier said. "I've been doing this for 13 years, and I never saw a family with a previous home. It's pretty exciting."

A typical home has three bedrooms and 1-1/2 bath with a basement, he said.

Habitat of Humanity of Summit County buys the land.

"We've built four homes in Twinsburg [Township] and are building three this year," Sukys said. "We're trying to get a coalition together in Twinsburg."

Hudson coalition has 325 volunteers with a dozen sponsors from churches and businesses.

"Each year these people step forward to volunteer," Collier said. "Hudson is a unique community where people volunteer their time and their pocket books."

A team, such as one from St. Mary, may sign up for three Saturdays and also donate money. It takes about 2,400 hours to build a house.

In addition to volunteers, Habitat for Humanity has a construction manager on site to oversee the work along with a safety manager. Volunteers from the coalition provide lunch.

Anyone 18 and older who can work the entire shift can volunteer, Collier said. Many men and women gain experience with each day they work.

"A person who has never built before can come on site and contribute in a day by holding a ladder, helping to move walls or holding walls," he said. "You don't have to be construction oriented or know a lot about tools."

The homeowners pay a 20 or 30 year interest-free mortgage with each adult in the family donating 250 hours of "sweat equity," Sukys said. In addition, the new homeowners take classes for maintenance, safety, nutrition and how to budget for a home.

Those interested in volunteering or donating money can contact Collier at jefferyscollier@aol.com or John Hopkins at jchoppy52@gmail.com.

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

Twitter: @LauraFreeman_RP

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