CHAMPAIGN — Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County rounded up 150 volunteers to build its first house at 1204 W. Beslin St., U, in 1992.
Two decades later, construction on the 64th house for this not-for-profit, nondenominational Christian housing ministry is under way, and the need for more affordable houses in the local community remains, says Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County Executive Director Sheila Dodd.
The 64th house is being built at 1004 N. Third St., C, by Habitat's University of Illinois student chapter, and it's set to be completed by Christmas, Dodd says.
Habitat plans to build four houses this year, four next year and six in 2014, and eight families are in various stages of becoming Habitat homeowners, she says.
Habitat builds affordable houses using a zero-interest mortgage program, volunteer labor and tax-deductible land donations, and selects its home-buyers based on their need, willingness to work and ability to repay the mortgage.
Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County is marking its 20th anniversary this fall with a series of events to share with the community.
The organization was set to mark World Habitat Day today (Monday, Oct.1) with a 9 a.m. ceremony at its ReStore at 119 E. University Ave., C. Planned were reading of proclamations from the mayors of Champaign and Urbana honoring Habitat for its 20 years of service.
The ReStore sells used furniture, electronics, household items, appliances and home improvement supplies, and its sales support Habitat's administrative costs.
On Oct. 6, there will be a fundraising event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Old Orchard Lanes, Savoy, to raise money for Habitat for Humanity Women Build, a volunteer program for women who want to learn construction skills and apply them to building houses for Habitat. On Women Build projects, 75 percent of the workers on the construction site are women, Dodd said.
The event will include a bag toss tournament, music, food, a silent auction and a 50/50 drawing and music, with registration opening at 11 a.m. and games beginning at noon.
Proceeds will go to the next Women Build project, Dodd said.
On Nov. 9, Habitat also plans to hold a fundraising anniversary party, with details to be announced, Dodd said.
Dodd says all funds raised go 100 percent toward home-building in the community, and the community has been supportive of Habitat for Humanity.
"I think we're making a difference, but I think there's a huge need," she said.
Dodd said she'd like to see Habitat do more home-building in towns outside Champaign-Urbana, but that will require some outreach efforts.
"I'm sure there are families in other communities that can use our help," she said.
Habitat welcomes all groups or individual volunteers, and no building experience is necessary, Dodd says.
Want to learn more? See the website: http://www.cuhabitat.org .