Habitat for Humanity works to 'raise the bar' - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Habitat for Humanity works to 'raise the bar'

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Members of the judiciary and the community will raise the bar for charity as part of Habitat for Humanity's 25th anniversary.

The West Virginia organization has built 700 homes in the Mountain State.

And now, they have another goal to commemorate their 25 years in West Virginia — to build 25 new houses around the state before the end of June.

"It's not way more than the usual, but it is a big undertaking," said Lynn Corrie, Habitat director of development.

Each house has a theme. One in Huntington, for example, is themed "Raising the Bar," which is where members of the judiciary are especially encouraged to participate.

In this "lawyer-build" project, Habitat for Humanity of West Virginia is partnering with its Huntington outpost and Clayman & Associates of Charleston.

"We've had a history with Habitat," Carrie Bowe, director of marketing and business development for Clayman, said. "We provide a lot of services through the community, and a large part is the legal community. … It's a great way to continue giving back."

However, it's not just lawyers. Corrie said anyone can participate.

This particular project will help Huntington resident Gloria Greene. Corrie explained that Greene's cramped house is not conducive to her rheumatoid arthritis and leg issues.

Greene, who is mostly confined to a scooter, has a hard time getting around her house, especially since the bathroom and doorways of her house are not made for easy scooter access, Corrie explained.

Bowe said she expects to start sending out letters for volunteers in February and says she expects March to be the month when the first build days begin.

That puts this house at a June 30 completion date and a July dedication celebration.

This project is just one of 25 to be finished, however. Although most have been completed, Corrie explained six are still in progress.

Some other projects going on around the state include: the Wood County Habitat for Humanity's build of their World of Hope House, Buckhannon River Habitat for Humanity's The Challenge Home, Monongalia's The House that WVU Built, New River Habitat's Raft and Build House and Marion County Habitat's The Rescuers House.

Corrie stressed that these houses are a "hand-up, not a handout." In addition to a down payment and a monthly mortgage payment, homeowners also must work on their house and other houses, she said.

 "They work for it. They have so many hours they have to put in and then they work on someone else's house. It's a pay it forward method and I think that's great," she said.

According to a Habitat news release, these houses are sold to families at no profit and financed with 0 percent interest loans. Homeowner's monthly payments are used to build more houses, the news release continues.

In Greene's case, her monthly mortgage payment will be less than 30 percent of her income.  

 "It's humbling to get involved in something like this where it forces you to get out of your comfort zone and enter a place in life that you're very fortunate in your life not to be in," Bowe said. "It makes you realize how lucky we are."