Berkeley Habitat’s 27th home build under way

  • Thursday, November 21, 2013

Stefan Rogenmoser/Independent Alcoa volunteers (front, from left) Marcela Alvarez, Andy Duncan, (back, from left) Cheryl Kirkland, Gary Jones, Gary Davidson, Joey Johnson, Dennis Gregory and Calvin Johnson pose for a photo in front of the Berkeley Habitat build in Bonneau.

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Site manager Jennings Jackson Jr. leads the crew at Berkeley Habitat For Humanity’s 27th “build.”

He and a number of volunteers are constructing a home in Bonneau for a family living in an overcrowded home.

On Oct. 31 Jackson, a volunteer crew from Alcoa and regular volunteers put up walls and plates.

Other work included interior caulking of 2 x 4 inch studs and the base of the floor.

“We’re filling in all the cracks,” Jackson said. “The first half of our shingles are up. We probably have 40 more bundles to put up. We’re about halfway done with this build project.”

“It’s about 40 percent funded,” Berkeley Habitat Executive Director Bryant Knepp said. “It’s about a $75,000 price tag. We’re building it as it’s funded.”

Jackson said the engineered septic tank is a well-designed system. At first the property was flat.

“We had to get if up off the ground to put the system in that would work with the home,” Jackson said. “We had to bring in over 100 loads of dirt to get where we are today.”

The infrastructure of the build is about 80 percent complete. The floor was about to be sealed and made airtight, thus making working in the rain possible from then on.

“This is my favorite project to do every year,” Alcoa volunteer Cheryl Kirkland said. “I’m about to retire, so I can do this on a regular basis.

She has been volunteering for almost 30 years.

“You guys did it,” Jackson said to the crew. “We got a lot done today with a small group. That says a lot for your character.

“What we asked for today will be 100 percent completed.”

The home is being built for Jacque Wright, a single mother of four who has worked at a bank in Moncks Corner for the last seven years.

“About two years ago I found out about Habitat through a friend,” Wright said. “I didn’t think I would qualify. They did a credit check. You have to have a stable job.”

She bought a 30-year-old mobile home that needed several repairs and planned to move it onto an acre of land she has. The Habitat home will be built there instead.

“A lot needed to be fixed,” she said, pointing to plumbing and other problems. “A trailer falls apart like a vehicle.”

So far she’s put in 350 volunteer hours on her own home every Saturday and at two other Habitat houses. She’s volunteered at the Habitat ReStore in Goose Creek.

“That’s a really fun place to work,” Wright said. “It’s all volunteer, so everyone’s happy to be working.”

She was surprised and excited to find out she qualified so her four children will have a place to call home for their lifetime and won’t have to live in a trailer that is constantly being repaired, Wright said.

“We’re pretty family-oriented,” Wright said.

Her children are 13, 10, 3 and 2. She and her children like to go to events such as the Moncks Corner Halloween celebration and events at Santee Canal Park. “Habitat and my family is what my life revolves around,” Wright said.

Although she’s almost done with her required volunteer hours, she will continue to work at the site until it’s complete.

She said a coworker told her about the opportunity after her co-worker’s sister qualified for a Habitat home.

“It takes a little bit of effort for the homeowner,” she said. “They want you to go to homeowner’s and classes for your home and keep up with it. They want you to get on your feet, provide for yourself.

“You have to give them a monthly mortgage payment for 20 – 25 years. It’s interest-free. You have to work for it, put in your hours. The labor is volunteer, so that keeps costs down.”

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