Saturday, November 8, 2003

Earning a home by their sweat

By William Croyle
Enquirer contributor

[IMAGE] A Habitat for Humanity house goes up in Taylor Mill as Richard Wagener (left) hands a piece of siding to Ken Williams. The two are NKU seniors studying construction management.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
LATONIA LAKES - Nancy Daugherty and her 8-year-old daughter have lived in the heart of a crime-ridden Covington neighborhood since 1995, lacking funds to move..

"Where I live now, it hasn't been pleasant," said Daugherty. "When you worry about your kid going outside because of the violence ... and it's only getting worse."

That will soon change when the two move into a new house they are helping build with Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat chose Daugherty, 35, as the buyer of an 864-square-foot home in Latonia Lakes. The two-bedroom, one-bath ranch is worth about $60,000 and will be ready by December. Daugherty will make a down payment before assuming a 20-year interest-free mortgage.

She was chosen from applicants based on her ability to pay the mortgage, current living conditions and willingness to work with Habitat in the construction, said Laura Ault, Habitat's Northern Kentucky chapter president.

"She has to put in 500 hours of sweat equity on her house and others," said Ault. Daugherty said she's at more than 250 hours now.

"I've never done this before," said Daugherty, whose daughter has also been helping by cleaning up the site. "I've carried in trusses, nailed boards and put up insulation."

Delta and Ashland Inc. are co-sponsors of the home, each donating $20,000 for materials. The labor is free, thanks mostly to volunteers from Northern Kentucky University and Delta.

About a dozen students in the Northern Kentucky University construction management program are managing the project. Sean Foley graduated from the program in 1993 and is now one of its professors. It's the first time the department has managed the construction of a home.

"It's fun because I'm not in charge. I put my students in charge," said Foley. "We've got 18-year-olds along with people who have been framers for 25 years but have never managed a project."

Richard Wagener, 25, will graduate in May with a degree in construction management. The Latonia Lakes home is the first project he's managed.

"Doing this job for this homeowner is a wonderful feeling," Wagener said.

Daugherty is also feeling wonderful about becoming a homeowner - something she felt was impossible at this point in her life.

"I'm telling you, I've felt every emotion, from joy to disbelief," she said. "I want everyone out there to know that there's hope."

The home is at 6160 Grove Road in Latonia Lakes, off Ky. 16, about 5 miles south of Interstate 275.

Volunteers are needed Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Nov. 21. To volunteer, call Tiffany Bellafant at (859) 572-5146

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