Habitat for Humanity in county

By Julie Fann
star staff
jfann@starhq.com

  Habitat for Humanity International has plans to build as many as eight homes in Elizabethton/Carter County. Directors of the organization said Thursday they are hoping families who qualify, clergy, business owners and residents will donate time, effort, money and faith to make the dream a reality.
  "This is a chance for Elizabethton to get jazzed up about something. We feel strongly that Elizabethton is where we're supposed to be; we just need to convince Elizabethton to take that leap of faith, believe, and walk forward," said Rosemary Sexton, chair of the Holston Habitat Women Build Project.
  Habitat for Humanity recently purchased a large tract of land in Elizabethton. The organization held a meeting Thursday evening at Elizabethton Christian Church to discuss the project and recruit help.
  "At this point, we're searching for sponsors and covenant partners. A covenant partner can be a church, community organization or business to provide some funding and volunteer labor to build homes," Sexton said.
  The project is scheduled to officially begin Sept. 11, 2005. Habitat for Humanity, since its inception, has built homes in the local area before, but Sexton said she hopes a new application process will bring forward more families who qualify. "The application used to be daunting. Now, all they need to do is fill out a one-page snapshot overview to see if they are qualified," she said. "It's a much easier process now."
  Families who qualify must have been rejected for a conventional loan, live in substandard housing, and be able to make a house payment on a no-interest loan. They also must be willing to contribute 500 hours assisting in construction of a house themselves or volunteering in some other community organization like the local Boys and Girls Club.
  "A family support committee helps the family come through the process. The entire project is volunteer-driven," Sexton said.
  The Habitat for Humanity Women Build Project will be assisting the Multi-Build Project in construction of the homes in Elizabethton.
  Other big HFH volunteers in the project will be the CARE-a-VANNERS, retirees who travel by camper from one HFH site to another around the country helping the organization build new homes for those in need.
  Sexton, who just recently became chair of the Women Build Project, describes herself as an aging athlete who works full time, has grown children, and is now donating her extra hours helping others. She describes HFH projects as "unashamedly Christian".
  "We begin each day with prayer. It is a faith-led mission," she said.
  Holston Habitat has built close to 150 homes in the region. Habitat for Humanity International is a non-profit, ecumenical Christian organization that, since its founding in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller, has built and rehabilitated more than 150,000 houses with families in need, according to its Web site.
  Families interested in applying for an HFH home and those who are interested in volunteering their time and funds should contact Rosemary Sexton at 423-224-0673, or 423-239-4875. She can also be e-mailed at rosemary.sexton@dayzim.com.