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Habitat for Humanity looks to grow

Published: Friday, April 19, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
(Chronicle file photo)
Curt Willard, co-chairman of the Home Building Committee, presents salt to Keagon Larsen during last year’s Habitat For Humanity dedication of a house in Sycamore while homeowner Kelli Larsen holds a loaf of bread in the background. Habitat for Humanity DeKalb County is eager ti start another house build this year.

Anthony Cvek is ready to get his hands dirty. 

The DeKalb County Board member plans to keep it clean in the political realm, but he is eager to start another house build with Habitat for Humanity after completing the most recent home in October. 

The charitable organization had a difficult time finding interested families for a few months after the completion of the rehabilitation project in Sycamore, but could be ready to start building a new home on Elm Street in DeKalb for a single mother of two. 

“The economy in general being what it is has created a larger need for affordable housing, which we can provide,” Cvek said. “There are plenty of people that qualify that may not realize it so we are always doing what we can to spread the word to churches and community organizations.”

Cvek said the group has two more lots and is still looking for families to place in those potential homes. Qualifications include living in DeKalb County for at least a year, meeting income requirements and living in unsafe or substandard housing.  

Eligible residents can find more information and submit applications at www.hfhdcillinois.org.

Building a home takes the group nearly a year because all of the work is done on Saturdays, said seven-year board member Ileana Brooks. Because of the need to make significant progress in a short time frames, Brooks said the group is always looking for more volunteers and board members.

The board is currently at its minimum of 10 members and Brooks said people with all skills including construction, financial, marketing and more are encouraged to join. Meetings are the first Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at the group office located at 302 Fisk Ave. in the St. Mary’s Church Parish Office building basement.

“All we ask is that they support our mission, which is to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness,” she said. 

With market prices still near historical low levels, Cvek said it is a good time to volunteer as the group should be active and looking to build homes without a four-year lull like it had during the market boom last decade. The upcoming build will be the organization’s 12th home since it was established in 1998. 

“With our board being shorthanded, I think it speaks to the dedication of the members we do have,” Cvek said of the six-month turnaround to start another build. “We’re going to keep looking for other properties and if an opportunity presents itself I don’t see why we wouldn’t consider it.”   

The group’s most recent build was for Kelli Larsen and her two sons. Unlike most builds, the group rehabilitated an early 1900s home on Roosevelt Court in Sycamore instead of building from the ground up.

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