Saturday, August 26, 2000

Revamped house becomes pair of condos for Habitat

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Latonya House smeared a little paint on her cheek Friday as she finished painting the steps leading to the basement of her soon-to-be condo.

[photo] Marcella Williams (second from right) and her children Bryant Williams, 2 (left), Michael Peterson, 7, and Shayana Peterson, 9, are looking forward to moving into their renovated home.
(Dick Swaim photo)
| ZOOM |
        Cincinnati Habitat For Humanity worked with the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Women Build 2000 Project to convert the 115-year-old house at 550 Hale Ave., Avondale, into a two-unit condominium.

        Mrs. House and her daughters — Jasmine, 14, and Jalisa, 12 — expect to move in next month on the first floor.

        Marcella Williams and her three children — Bryant, 2, Michael, 7, and Shayana, 9 — also will move in next month. They will occupy the second floor.

        Mrs. House and Mrs. Williams had to put in 500 hours of “sweat equity” to help renovate the house, as required under Habitat rules.

        “I loved working on the project,” said Mrs. House. “I think I could put up drywall by myself now. I learned a lot about concrete, paint and carpentry.”

        Mrs. Williams was equally thrilled with the experience. She knows how to identify parts of the infrastructure in a house.

        “I know the difference between a gas pipe and a cold water pipe now,” she said. “And I put in a window by myself.”

        Women Build 2000 is a collaboration of organizations with 280 female volunteers from the Boyer Guild of Women in Architecture, Cincinnati Habitat For Hu manity, Great Rivers Girl Scout Council, Hawkwood Ltd., Ohio State University 4-H Club Extension in Hamilton County, and the Women's Research & Development Center.

        The Cincinnati Hamilton County Community Action Agency and People Working Cooperatively also donated services.

        Eighty male volunteers worked along with the women to put in 4,700 hours. Women professionals led the redesign and construction.

        “We probably ended up with about 1,000 different volunteers,” said Peggy Wood, project manager with Hawkwood Ltd., the general contractor.

        “We had women from the (Hamilton County) Probation Department who came five days a week.”

        Mrs. Wood said work started with gutting the house and tearing down a two-car garage in February.

        John Cerniglia, executive director of Cincinnati Habitat For Humanity, said the families will make mortgage payments, interest free, of $325 a month including real estate taxes and insurance.

        “We have not completely priced out the cost yet, but they will probably be about what the average Habitat house is, which is about $57,000,” Mr. Cerniglia said.

        The condos have three bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, laundry room and two bathrooms.

        The Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund donated $250,000 to the project.


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