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Local Habitat for Humanity continues working through pandemic

For more than 30 years, the Boyle County Habitat for Humanity has labored to provide affordable housing for low-income families.

During that time, the non-profit volunteer organization has built more than 40 homes in Boyle County, and is currently in the process of building another one on West Fourth Street in Perryville.

Despite some challenges along the way, the organization is still on track to finish the home this fall, possibly by October or November according to Boyle County Habitat for Humanity President Larry Fitch.

The home currently under construction was started in April, just as cases of COVID-19 began to rise in Kentucky. That hasn’t stopped the Habitat volunteers from pushing forward with the project, albeit with a smaller crew with social distancing measures in place and masks being worn.

“There have been some delays because of coronavirus, but we’ve continued working on this home,” Fitch said.

The home is a three bedroom, two bathroom home, which is a standard home for houses built by Habitat for Humanity, although it can vary depending on the size of the family.

The organization is actively seeking qualified residents who are interested in owning a Habitat home.

The number of applications received by the organization for a home has been noticeably lower this year, according to Fitch, which could be attributed to the ongoing pandemic. Fitch said he isn’t sure how the state or national organization is doing in terms of new applicants, but has noticed a shift locally.

“We’ve seemed to find fewer applicants applying for a house, and we suspect it is because of the uncertainty with coronavirus and the impact that it has on our target market,” Fitch said.

To qualify for a Boyle County Habitat home, a married couple with children or a single parent with children must typically meet three criteria.

First is a demonstrated need for adequate housing. This typically means that the current housing situation is dangerous or otherwise unacceptable.

Secondly, the family must have a demonstrated ability to pay for a Habitat home. Income levels vary depending on family size and other factors. The final criteria is a willingness to assist in the construction of their new home.

An application process also exists. The application process includes submitting a formal application, proof of income, a national credit check, home visits and personal interviews.

Interested Boyle County residents can pick up an application on Tuesdays between 10 a.m. and noon at the Habitat for Humanity office located at 447 South 3rd Street in Danville. Those interested can also call the Habitat for Humanity office at 859-236-9153.

The group is also looking for volunteers to assist with construction and someone to work a few hours each week in the office. The construction crews work Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. The office assistant would be needed on Tuesdays from 10 to noon. Interested individuals can call the office for more information.

“Our volunteers at the work site basically do all the labor for constructing houses,” Fitch said.

While it is beneficial to have individuals with construction backgrounds, Fitch said some volunteers learn many skills along the way.

“Anybody can help,” Fitch said.

Elements such as electrical, HVAC, and plumbing are handled by licensed individuals.

Fitch also added the other main need that Habitat has at this time is land lots that are appropriately priced. Fitch said that anyone who has a lot that is available either for sell or for donation is encouraged to reach out to Habitat.

“This is intended to be a helping hand, to help individuals get into a safe and secure environment to live and raise a family in,” Fitch said.