Wednesday, April 05, 2000

Miami groups build dreams

Enquirer Contributor

        OXFORD — Home building is not in Miami University's catalog of courses, but many students are signing up for it.

[photo] Miami U. student Derek Adye works on a Habitat for Humanity house.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
| ZOOM |
        Two student organizations are funding and building side-by-side Habitat for Humanity homes for two Oxford families. Their goal is to complete the homes by summer.

        That makes for busy weekends on the construction sites, off College Corner Pike in northwest Oxford. Members of Miami's chapter of Habitat for Humanity hammer and hew with members of the university's fraternities and sororities. Professional home builder Bobby Collins is maintaining quality control, and several Oxford Habitat members are helping out.

        “We're working as a team, finding out the glitches and what we can do differently next time,” said Molly Beecroft, president of the Miami Habitat group.

        Ms. Beecroft's group is working with Michelle Marcum and her three children to complete a ranch-style home. The Greeks' project is a home for Brian and Pam Dickman and their four children.

        Each group raised the necessary $50,000 for the land and materials. Because labor is donated, Habitat homes cost considerably less than their market value. That reduced price, combined with a no-interest loan, translates into home ownership for fam ilies who otherwise might not qualify for a conventional mortgage.

        But to earn a Habitat home, all adults in the potential home-owning family must invest at least 250 hours of “sweat equity” in their own home or another Habitat proj ect. The costs may be low, but standards are high.

        “When Hurricane Andrew devastated southern Florida, the only homes left standing were Habitat homes,” said Oxford Habitat volunteer Richard Bement. “That's because they are overly con structed. We put in more than the minimum number of nails, for instance.”

        Habitat for Humanity is an international, nonprofit ecumenical Christian housing ministry dedicated to eliminating homelessness and substandard housing.


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