BATH — Despite the depressing economic times, Valerie Herrick and her son, Jon, were able to celebrate moving out of their hard-to-heat Brunswick apartment last week and into a new energy-efficient house built just for them.
The 14 Noble Ave. home, dedicated Feb. 5 by Habitat for Humanity/7 Rivers Maine, is the third Habitat house built with participation from Bath Iron Works. It is Habitat’s 14th house in Bath and 30th overall, according to Tara Hill, executive director of that Habitat branch.
BIW provided most of the funding for the new house, Hill said. She added that BIW is committed to raising $60,000 in cash for every house with which it is involved, and the company also secures in-kind donations of professional services such as excavation, electrical, plumbing and heating services up to $20,000. Services are provided by local contractors or BIW employees who have professional licenses.
Over four days last October, BIW framed and shingled the house and installed the roof. “That’s really a nice jump start on getting the house started,” Hill said, explaining that the house took only three months to build.
A family needs to meet certain income standards to be eligible for a Habitat home. “We serve families who are in between 25 and 60 percent of the average (Sagadahoc County) median income,” Hill said, adding that applicants must also be able to pay back the 0 percent mortgage and be willing to help build their home. “We build our houses with our families, as opposed to for our families.”
Valerie Herrick had to contribute 250 hours of sweat equity. Twenty-five hours of the required time can come from family members or friends who want to help out, Hill said.
An eligible family must also be living in substandard housing. “Our goal is to get families out of substandard housing who don’t have the means to do it through conventional loans or that type of thing.”
The lot, which Habitat offered to the Herricks last spring, was donated by the city, Hill said.
The dedication included a blessing of the house and presentation of gifts to the Herricks, including a photo album featuring the people who worked on the house and, ceremoniously, the keys to the house.
“Without Habitat, there would be no home to be dedicated,” Herrick told the crowd gathered at her house. “For this blessing, I thank and applaud Habitat’s efforts and continued commitment not only for my benefit, but for all the past families which Habitat has helped build homes with and for families who will become homeowners in the future.”
“I am glad that we get this home,” Jon Herrick, 12, added. “Thank you for all the volunteers that put effort into this house.”
Depending on the closing, Valerie Herrick said, they expect to move in either late this month or March.
“We’ll be real happy here,” she said.
Valerie Herrick, right, and her son, Jon, are the recipients of a new Habitat for Humanity house in Bath. (Lear photo)