"The family is Stephanie and Allan Shaw, and they have six children and one on the way," said Robin Hooker, the local Habitat's executive director. "[They are a] wonderful family. They've been great so far. They've actually put in lots of hours working with [our last homeowner], Becky Frasier, and her family on her house. We're really excited because this is our first house that we've built that's six bedrooms, two bath. So this is a big jump for us.
"It's very important for us to have volunteers to work on the houses because we don't have the funds to pay for retail on our homes because everything is done at cost," she said, adding the project's general contractor is Don Liotta with Outside the Box Construction. "We do hire several contractors that have their specialties. Plumbing, heat and air conditioning, electricians, those types of things are paid workers. The other is all volunteer work. But it's very rewarding, because you get to actually see what you're doing. You can drive by it every single day. You can look and see [that] you've actually helped in the community."
For Joseph Sherman, the opportunity to help others in need, especially through Habitat, is a life-changing experience for everyone involved. On Saturday, the Rydal resident was among the more than 20 volunteers who participated in the construction project's first day. In addition to driving in nails, Sherman also lent a hand lifting and carrying various objects.
"It's necessary to give something to the community, make some contribution to the community," Sherman said. "You're not an island -- yourself and your family. There'll be other people in the community who are less fortunate than you are, and it's best to be able to help wherever you can. ... Habitat is a well-structured, well-organized, well-implemented program. So you can come in and then make your contribution within that respect.
"But also you get to meet not only the person whose house is being built but you also meet other people whose houses have been previously built. And when you take everything into consideration -- if you take into consideration especially the economy as it is right now and what the struggles are that so many families are going through and have to deal with -- if you can stand side by side with them and help them to try to get shelter, to get a roof over their heads, for me that's very rewarding."
Since its inception in 1984, Bartow Area Habitat for Humanity has constructed 35 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 at 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 in the next two years, the second being the Shaw's home. The Habitat project is being funded by a Community Development Block Grant that was awarded to the city in November 2009.
For more information about Habitat or to volunteer in its current build, contact Hooker at 770-382-6293 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers are needed weekly on Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Wednesdays, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Along with assistance in the structure's construction, donations also are needed for necessities, such as water and lunches, for volunteers.