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Women ready to build home

August 14, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN -- Women are converging in Hagerstown to build another Habitat for Humanity house.

The latest Washington County Women Build project is at 1018 Lanvale St. in the city's West End.

For the fourth time, the crew will be almost entirely women.

Some volunteers met at the house site Friday to look ahead to the work that will begin in earnest Saturday.

The only part in place is the foundation, which was built in May.

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit Christian organization that uses volunteer labor and donations to build affordable homes for people who otherwise can't afford one. A homeowner must make a down payment and monthly mortgage payments and must volunteer a minimum number of hours with the organization.

Sharon Belair, who will move into a Habitat home on Colton Court in Smithsburg when it is completed, cut the ribbon Friday at 1018 Lanvale St.

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She prepared some comments, but was overcome with emotion and could barely express her gratitude for Habitat.

"It's been a dream come true," she said later.

Belair, who is staying with her father in Hagerstown for now, said she's a single mother. Her 13-year-old son, Kevin Griffin, will live with her in Smithsburg.

The roof is scheduled to be put on today and the rest of the house is expected to be finished by the end of the year.

Habitat hasn't determined who will live at 1018 Lanvale St., which is planned as a one-story, 1,000-square-foot home with three bedrooms and one bathroom.

Sherry Brown Cooper, the executive director of Habitat's Washington County chapter, said a family was approved, but decided to wait for a future Habitat home. The local Habitat board probably will choose another family for Lanvale Street by the end of next month, she said.

Women Build volunteers include women in the business world and stay-at-home wives, said Toni Koenigsberg, a member of the event committee for the Lanvale Street project. She works for 1-800-GOT-JUNK.

Usually, it takes four to six months to build a Habitat house, but the Women Build crews are quick and might finish sooner, Brown Cooper said.

She estimated that 200 to 300 people, mostly women, will help by building, procuring supplies or supplying food and drinks for workers.

Brown Cooper said two previous Women Build houses are on nearby Vickie Drive and Concord Street. The other is on Wayside Avenue, near Fairgrounds Park.

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