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Habitat for Humanity hosting groundbreaking

Gazette file photo Copper Country Habitat for Humanity volunteers build a home in 2009. The group is looking for volunteers for its next home, which will have a groundbreaking and celebration Thursday night.

HOUGHTON — Shelter is one of humanity’s basic needs.

Copper Country Habitat for Humanity is looking to people interested in helping them fill it.

There is a “desperate” need for volunteers at the building site, said Rene Johnson, publicity coordinator for Copper Country Habitat for Humanity.

“A lot of our volunteers have been very devoted folks for years,” she said. “Some of them are into their retirement years, and they’re going to age out.”

The group typically puts up one home a year, Johnson said. They skipped 2018, working instead on flood recovery efforts.

The groundbreaking and celebration for this year’s home build is 6 p.m. Thursday on the lot at 800 Champion Street in Houghton. The home is being built for Nikki Kaufman of Houghton and her family.

To qualify for a Habitat for Humanity home, people need to meet two criteria. First, they need to fall within a financial gap where they can pay off the Habitat for Humanity mortgage, but can’t afford to pay off a bank loan. Also, their current housing must be substandard, or too expensive due to utilities — an important consideration for what Johnson believes to be the most northern Habitat for Humanity affiliate in the U.S.

The Habitat homes are built to be energy efficient. Homes are built facing south, with glass exposure to take in heat. They are also well-insulated, with modern energy-efficient heating and water systems.

Volunteers can come in with any level of building experience, Johnson said. They can also choose to contribute to one element of the project — for instance, someone with experience with drywall.

“Anywhere from three to 10 (volunteers) is manageable, but it depends on the project,” Johnson said.

Kaufman will work with volunteers to build the house, with a goal of finishing the exterior by winter, then finishing the interior into the winter months. Procedural delays pushed back this year’s build, which is usually completed by November. However, the building supervisor and building committee have OK’d construction.

Most building is done between Thursday and Saturday, though that can vary depending on weather or availability of materials, Johnson said.

Habitat for Humanity board members, committee members and builders will be there Thursday. People can come to find out if they qualify, simply come to meet the family and builders, or decide to volunteer.

“I think it’s opened my eyes to our community in terms of both its need and the wonderful people that respond to that need,” said Johnson, who is in her second stint on the Habitat board. “There’s nothing more basic than having secure, decent housing. That can change a person’s whole outlook on themselves and their life.”

Anyone interested in volunteering should call 482-5376 and leave a message with a return phone number. They can also send an email to cchfh@pasty.com.

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