“Let us build a house where love can dwell and all can safely live,” These few words from the song “All Are Welcome,” by Marty Haugen, describe the atmosphere as the newest homeowner at the Habitat Partnership Village, Mary Hining and her son, Connor Smith received the keys to their new home during the dedication on Sunday, Feb. 10. “I am so very excited,” Mary said, “A year ago I did not know what Habitat was and today I am standing here in my home.” Mary’s life changing event started at scrapbooking party when she met Selena Ellis and Jill Winchell, who volunteer with Habitat. They invited her to the application meeting; Mary completed the application and waited to hear from the selection committee. Each family application is reviewed by the family selection committee; the committee will evaluate the family based on need, willingness to partner, and ability to pay a monthly mortgage. After Mary heard from the committee the long and exciting four month process began. As part of her acceptance for new home ownership, Mary attended mandatory homeownership classes, completed her minimum hours and made her $1000 deposit before the construction on her home began. She then began the 300 hours of sweat equity, building her home beside volunteers from the community. It was not all hard work, as a new homeowner, Mary, was able to choose the flooring, cabinets and counter tops. Each Habitat home comes with a refrigerator and stove. Homeowner can choose to add other appliances’, such as microwave, dishwasher, washer and dryer and even ceiling fans, at an additional low cost that is financed alone with their homes.
The foundation, plumbing, wiring and hvac unit are all done by licensed contractors, some volunteer their time. The Women Build was on the job site with Mary, doing everything from raising the roof to sweeping the floors and building the walls. Women Build is a Habitat for Humanity International program that encourages women to make a difference by building homes and communities. Women Builds provide an environment in which women can feel comfortable learning construction skills they might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn.
Sunday’s dedication was the fifty-third Habitat Home built in Saline County. But without the families and volunteers, the dreams of homeownership will not become a reality. Habitat for Humanity will begin their fifty-fourth home in March. They the regular workdays are every Tuesday and the third Saturday of the month. Volunteers are not just limited to building; they are also needed to provide food and fellowship.
Habitat homes are not given free of charge they are homes that but are sold to qualifying families at a low-cost, no interest, 20 year mortgage. For a family who might be interested the application meeting is 6 p.m.,Thursday, February 28, at the Bosewell library in Bryant.
In the words of second grader and new homeowner, Connor Smith; “I cannot wait until we move into our new home. I am really glad that all of you’ all built this home. Also I’m really happy that you built it even if it was a lot of sweat and even it was really cold outside.”
Thank you; Whirpool, for providing the appliances; the Rice Depot, who donated food to fill the pantry and freezer and to all the volunteers.
For more information on the Habitat for Humanity of Saline County, visit their website at www.habitatsalinecountyar.or  or call 501-315-5434.
Picture by Maribeth Bueche L to R Homeowner Mary Hining, Connor Smith and Habitat Board member, Selena Ellis.