Habitat For Humanity of the Mid-Ohio Valley dedicates 98th home

Photo by Brett Dunlap
Brandon, Skyler and Tessa Smith receive a number of items as they accepted the keys to their new home during a dedication ceremony Sunday by Habitat For Humanity of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Photo by Brett Dunlap Brandon, Skyler and Tessa Smith receive a number of items as they accepted the keys to their new home during a dedication ceremony Sunday by Habitat For Humanity of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

PARKERSBURG — A Parkersburg family will soon be moving into their new home, the 98th home built by Habitat For Humanity of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Over 30 people attended a dedication ceremony Sunday at the home, located at 2402 Seventh Ave. in south Parkersburg. Although Habitat has already dedicated its 100th home, some homes get completed faster than others while others take longer.

The house will be the home of Brandon, Tessa, Skyler Smith and a baby on the way.

Habitat For Humanity of the Mid-Ohio Valley Executive Director Alvin Phillips said he came across Brandon in the service department of a local auto dealership. However, the two had met before.

Brandon’s parents were Habitat homeowners.

Photo by Brett Dunlap
The Smiths took possession of their house, the 98th home built locally by Habitat. The home is located at 2407 Seventh Ave. in south Parkersburg.

Photo by Brett Dunlap The Smiths took possession of their house, the 98th home built locally by Habitat. The home is located at 2407 Seventh Ave. in south Parkersburg.

“He grew up and spent most of his early life in a Habitat home,” Phillips said.

The two began talking about Habitat and worked to get Brandon’s family approved. When they did, Brandon went to work.

Habitat uses volunteer labor, donations and donated materials and land to keep homes affordable for those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to own their own homes through conventional means.

Habitat is not a free giveaway. Habitat homebuyers are required to attend homebuyer education classes and complete “sweat equity” hours in working on a number of local Habitat projects as well as their own. The homeowners pay a zero-percent interest mortgage to buy the house from Habitat.

“Brandon has been a model worker here through his sweat equity,” Phillips said.

The home is located in a neighborhood that has had a couple of other Habitat houses built.

“We have finished all three of these homes this year,” Phillips said. “We are real pleased to be in this neighborhood.”

Bill Thomas, who gave the home blessing, said people have worked together over time to make these home dedications possible.

“It is an achievement,” he said. “You folks put in some sweat.

“A house has been built and it is beautiful.”

Habitat can only build houses, it is up to the people who live there to make them homes, Thomas said.

“That takes time,” he said. “There is that magical moment when home is where those you love the most are, your wife and children.

“I am as pleased as punch that this house is now yours.”

Major sponsors for the home were Doug and Mary Anne Ketelsen, long-time supporters of Habitat. Funding for the construction of the house was also provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Parkersburg-Wood County HOME Consortium, a program administered by the City of Parkersburg’s Development Department.

Carolyn Garrity, Homeowner Selection Committee, presented the family with a Bible and a set of keys. Alpha Delta Kappa and Senior Stitchers also made presentations of books and quilts to the family.

“I just wanted to thank everyone for coming,” Brandon said. “Without Habitat, I wouldn’t have a home to raise my family in.”

Robin Stewart, Director of Resource Development, said work is continuing on other homes in the area.

“As we complete this home, we are actively working on other homes as well,” she said.

Habitat for Humanity MOV will be completing three homes and starting two to three more in the next 12 months, with homebuyers who have partnered with the organization by providing sweat equity hours. They have met all requirements of home ownership and each will pay a manageable mortgage payment, with no interest on their loan.

The organization is looking for buildable property in Washington County for two families who have already been approved.

There will be 22 people who will be living in new homes this year, with the help of around 85 volunteers and 2,500 hours per house, Habitat officials said.

“Habitat is here to stay until we can get everyone into affordable housing,” Phillips said.

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