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Volunteers help build Habitat house in Norwalk

By JOE CENTERS • May 12, 2017 at 2:00 PM

It was all hands on deck Wednesday in Norwalk.

Workers were busy at the Firelands Habitat for Humanity House at 29 Spring St. 

There were two groups working side-by-side with the regular volunteer crew.

North Coast Builders donated a crew of five professionals to help build the roof of the house and shingle it. 

There also is a group of seven 18- to 24-year-olds from AmeriCorps NCCC helping for the next three weeks. The group is splitting its time between Firelands Habitat in Norwalk and building a house in Fremont for Habitat for Humanity of Sandusky County.

While in Norwalk they are staying at the First Presbyterian Church.

“Firelands Habitat appreciates the hard work of these groups to get this house under roof and to help us get this house completed as soon as possible. Our crews normally only work two days a week, so with AmeriCorps helping us for seven days we will be about a month ahead of scheduled,” said Mike McCall, executive director of Firelands Habitat for Humanity.

The AmeriCorps NCCC team of eight from the North Central Region campus of Vinton, Iowa, is serving under the supervision of Habitat’s construction coordinator to set up flooring, build and raise walls and set trusses and roofing for each house. The team also is installing windows, doors and attaching siding in order for the houses to be fully weatherproof in the event of inclement weather prior to final completion.

Through their service, AmeriCorps NCCC members are helping two families get into their homes sooner. The team also is a major factor in assisting Firelands Habitat for Humanity with the completion of its house in Norwalk as it relies on volunteers for the majority of the work needed in order to complete each project. After completion, these two families will be in a more stable financial situation and therefore able, officials hope, to rise above the poverty line and be able to put money back into the local economy.

“I had zero construction experience going into the work site, but after all that I’ve learned here I can confidently say that I could gather some friends and build myself a house to live in when this program ends. That’s pretty incredible,” said member Sarah Spangler from Pennsylvania.

Firelands Habitat for Humanity works with low-income families who are unable to qualify for a traditional housing loan. Families are required to put in 400 to 500 ‘sweat equity’ hours where they are on site assisting volunteers with the construction of their home. After completion, they are given a loan with zero interest for 25 years.

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