ST. ALBANS- Shovels broke ground Wednesday morning on two new Habitat for Humanity houses located at 37 and 39 Huntington Street.
The ranch style homes will sit together on the side-by-side lots, both 1,200 square feet with three bedrooms and one and a half baths and radiant heat floors. The goal is to have construction complete by next summer, but that all depends on the weather and recruitment of volunteers.
“Now that we’re back in the city we want to get the word out so people and businesses can contact us if they want to help,” Art Liskowsky, volunteer organizer of the building site said.
The Franklin County chapter is hoping to gather volunteers on Saturdays, working from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Help is needed with framing, sheathing, shingle roofing, installing windows and doors, insulating, siding, drywall, painting, interior trim and installing flooring and cabinets. All levels of skills are welcome, and volunteering is said to be a great way to learn some home repair tips.
According to JoAnn Brodeur, who currently serves at the chapter’s vice president, part of their mission is to teach and educate community members. Community members that are interested in serving are encouraged to reach out to FGIHabitatbuild@gmail.com for more information. They ask you include your name, age, town, phone number and the area you can help with.
A team of volunteers will also be at the build site on Tuesdays during work hours. On other days throughout the week, paid contractors will continue construction.
“If we can get the structure up and closed in before the weather turns ugly then things will move nicely through the winter,” Liskowsky said.
“Once the outside is up, the inside goes a lot faster,” board member Sandy Donlan agreed.
Though building is underway, the future homes are still without owners. The family selection committee began that process Wednesday night at their first meeting. An application has been posted on their website, and a future meeting will be set that families must attend in order to be considered. Here they will learn more about the process, qualifications and expectations for being selected. Simply put, the family must be in need of a home, have enough income to pay the mortgage, tax and insurance payment, and put in 500 hours of labor in the building process, 200 which can be split up among family members. Those interested can reach out to the selection committee at .firstname.lastname@example.org
The Franklin County Chapter last project was in Alburgh, where two homes were completed in the fall of 2017. The Huntington street project has been in the works for months, but was delayed because the chapter is being forced to relocate it’s Highgate warehouse.
The current resale store, donated in 2005 by A. N. Deringer, sits on state land adjacent to the Franklin County State Airport (FCSA). Because of the FCSA’s expansion, the organization is losing its lease for the land, and the warehouse is now for sale. It’s still unknown where the store will be moving to as they are actively looking for 10,000 square feet anywhere in Franklin County.
“We’re open to rent, lease or buy, whatever we have to do,” Brodeur said.
Despite the uncertainty, the organization and thrift store continues to thrive.
“We have people the came every Saturday,” Brodeur told the Messenger, “And when they leave they’ll say ‘see you next week!’”
The chapter also says they receive dozens of requests for furniture pick up each week. The furniture, which is picked up for free from homes around the county, is then sold in the warehouse during store hours. All funding from the warehouse goes to the home building projects, like the current one on Huntington Street. The organization also owns two lots in Swanton and Enosburgh where they plan to eventually build four more homes.
“Those houses will be coming as soon as we get the funding,” Dave MacCallum, the chapter’s executive director, said.
The resale shop plans to remain open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. until Nov. 17. The relocation is not currently affecting donations, which will still be accepted until further notice.