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Work on the first house, located in Urbana, set to begin on April 10

CHAMPAIGN — Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County is planning to build four new houses this year, with construction on the first one, in Urbana, set to kick off April 10.

The lots for all four building projects are already lined up, and the new future homeowners have been approved, according to Kim Gollings, the agency’s community development director.

Plans call for the first construction start — being sponsored by Savoy United Methodist Church — at 1211 W. Eads St., U.

That will be followed by the start of the second home at 207 E. Kerr Ave., U, in June, with that project sponsored by Big Grove Tavern, Champaign.

The other two homes will be started in the fall — one at 112 N. Champaign St., C, to be sponsored by Yahoo!, Thrivent, Lowe’s and State Farm, and the other at 1702 E. Fairlawn Drive, U, to be sponsored by the University of Illinois Habitat for Humanity student chapter.

The UI student chapter also sponsored a home started last fall at 1407 W. Beslin St., U, that is in the process of being completed now and set to be dedicated in two weeks, Gollings said.

The home on Beslin was one of three the agency and its partners were able to build last year.

Plans had called for building five homes, but due to the pandemic, two were pushed to this spring, Gollings said.

Families in need of decent, affordable housing apply to Habitat for Humanity and are selected based on their need, willingness to work with the organization and ability to pay an affordable mortgage.

The selected buyers work with volunteers through Habitat to build their new homes.

Work on homes through the pandemic has continued in Champaign County largely with a small group of regular core volunteers, Gollings said.

Safety measures will continue as more building gets underway in April, she said.

That will include no more than 10 volunteers on the building site at once, a requirement for everyone on site to wear face masks, temperature checks and wiping down all tools throughout the day, though most people keep their own tools with them for the day, she said.

For pandemic safety’s sake, Habitat won’t be hosting in-person volunteer builds for International Women Build Week this year, according to Gollings.

That week, which kicked off Monday, will be all virtual this year to help raise awareness of the need for safe and affordable housing for women.

According to Habitat for Humanity, women have been disproportionately affected by pandemic-related job losses, evictions and foreclosures.

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