Deserving family moves into Habitat home
by Marie Nesmith
Jan 09, 2012 | 2285 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marsha Ingram receives the keys to her Habitat home from contractor Don Liotta while her daughter Emily looks on.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Thanks to Bartow Area Habitat for Humanity, Erick and Marsha Ingram are delighted to have the opportunity to enhance their family's quality of life. With their Habitat dedication ceremony held on Friday, the couple and their three children are in the process of settling into their new Cartersville home.

"Everyone's been so wonderful, [especially] all the volunteers," Erick Ingram said. "There's so many of them, people that we didn't even know that have come out and treated us like family as far as their dedication to helping us get this house up. Obviously, Robin [Hooker] at Habitat and Kathy [Stringer] at Habitat, [they are] just wonderful people.

"And Don [Liotta], the general contractor for the house, and his crew, they've been wonderful," he said, adding his family was in "disbelief" when they first learned they would be receiving a Habitat home. "I figured there had been some sort of clerical error. We were shocked. It was the most wonderful news that we had had in a long time. ... This is an amazing opportunity for us. I really think it's going to improve the quality of our life."

Located on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, the Ingrams' 1,400-square-foot residence features four bedrooms and two baths.

"Our previous home, it was an old house when we bought it and it's been progressively getting worse, in poor disrepair," Erick Ingram said. "Our utility bills were crazy because lack of good insulation, problems with the walls. We had mold issues. Financially, we weren't in the situation where we could manage to move out to get another place. It was pretty much just a downward spiral, things were getting progressively worse. Every time I fixed something, two or three more things would break. We didn't have the money.

"This new house, it's going to be so wonderful. For one thing, when you turn the heat on the house gets warm  ... and it's going to be nice for that, to be able to stay warm when it's cold and cool when it's hot and to not have to pay ridiculous utilities for that to happen. It's going to be fantastic. We've been volunteering since the first house that [was] built last year, just watching Don and his crew and all the volunteers and all the detail that they put into everything and the attention they pay. They don't cut any corners. Everything's built right. As we've gone along, they've shown us everything. So even if something comes up where we have a problem, now we know how to fix it."

Along with the family having a need for housing, Robin Hooker, executive director for Bartow Area Habitat for Humanity, said they also have demonstrated a tremendous work ethic throughout the building process.

"It's really great to be able to provide something for a family, especially ones that are very deserving of it," Hooker said. "This family has been amazing. They have been on the build site from the past two builds that we've done.

"Every chance that they can get, they have put forth extra effort. They've done extra things with Habitat to really show that they want this house and they are deserving of it."

Since its inception in 1984, Bartow Area Habitat for Humanity has constructed nearly 40 residences. On average, 150 people apply each year, with 10 percent of the applications being further evaluated. To be approved, applicants need to satisfy various requirements, such as meeting income guidelines, living or working in Bartow County for at least one year, contributing at least 450 hours in their home's construction and being able to pay for their home.

Valued about $110,000, the organization's homes are sold for about $75,000. House payments issued by Habitat range from $400 to $425 a month, which includes taxes and insurance.

To help the nonprofit's efforts to provide affordable, quality residences, the city of Cartersville is partnering with Habitat for Humanity to build six residences, the third being the Ingrams' home. The Habitat project is being funded by a Community Development Block Grant that was awarded to the city in November 2009.

"There's incredible need here in Bartow County for better living conditions," Hooker said. "It would amaze you at the statistical information of how many people live in substandard living conditions.

"One of my goals is to continue to decrease the substandard living conditions in Bartow County. Had we not had that Community Development Block Grant, we would not be building these houses [nor the] three that we are going to be building for 2012."

For more information about Habitat or to volunteer in or donate to its next building project that will start in March, contact Hooker at 770-382-6293 or email director@bartowhabitat.org. Volunteers will be needed weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.