BY SHERI TRUSTY
When Eddie and Savanah Moses received the keys to their new home in Elmore on Jan. 12, they knew they were moving into a home touched, physically or symbolically, by a hundred benevolent hands. The Moses’ house, a Habitat for Humanity home, was built through the combined efforts of community members, businesses, organizations, churches and volunteers. In the midst of the build were Eddie and Savanah, who were required to put at least 500 volunteer hours into the construction process.
To them, the requirement became a privilege.
“I love the process. We got to build it,” Savanah said. “That makes it more special. We had the chance to build our own home.”
Habitat for Humanity staff and volunteers, community members, and family packed into the Moses’ new home on Jan. 12 as Habitat for Humanity of Ottawa County Executive Director Debi Heiks dedicated the home, making it the 29th Habitat home dedicated in the county. In addition to the Moses’ new construction home, a Habitat rehab home was dedicated in Elmore earlier this winter, and another rehab home will be dedicated in Port Clinton within a month.
“A rehab home is a past home that has come back to us for whatever reason,” Heiks said. “We put in new flooring, new paint and new appliances. We make it look like brand-new.”
Over 2,000 volunteer hours were spent constructing the Moses’ home. While many counties pay construction managers to lead projects, the Ottawa County Habitat has the benefit of having three experienced construction professionals who work free of charge on all the county’s Habitat homes. They are Construction Manager Paul Henry and Assistant Construction Managers Don Kiser and Mark Helle.
“It keeps me busy,” Henry said. “I’ve been retired for 20 years, and I just like building. What better way to build a home than with Habitat?”
Heiks said there is a misconception that Habitat Homes are free for the families, but that is not true. Many of the supplies and much of the labor is donated, but the homes still cost thousands of dollars, and that money must be repaid by the homeowner through an interest-free loan.
The need for Habitat homes has risen drastically in the last decade.
“In the last two or three years, it’s been even more difficult for people to find homes. Rent has doubled in some cases, and corporations are buying homes to use as Airbnb’s,” Heiks said. “There are not affordable homes for families.”
With the help of Habitat and their own hard work, Eddie and Savanah have built an affordable home for their family, which includes children Aniyah, Journee and Kyler.
“I love it. I’m so excited,” Savanah said. “It’s an amazing thing.”
During the dedication ceremony, Eddie expressed his gratitude to the many people who helped his family build their home and to the volunteer construction crew who worked by his side, hammers in hand.
“You are amazing. You taught me a lot,” he said.