Lakes Region Habitat for Humanity has begun the building of its first handicap accessible home. When completed, the house, located at the end of Dearborn Street in Franklin, NH, will be home to the Soboslai family. Wayne Hackett is the project manager for Habitat. On Friday, he and a group of volunteers from the Sanbornton Congregational Church worked putting down insulation so that the concrete to complete the foundation can be poured. According to Hackett, “The house will be extremely well insulated and energy efficient, which will make this affordable house even more affordable to operate”.
This is the first handicap accessible home built by Lakes Region Habitat for Humanity, and the Soboslai family is extremely grateful. “The overwhelming support from the community to help people they don’t even know is very touching and heartwarming — to know there are people out there who want to reach out and help,” Kelly said. ”. Every day Kelly Soboslai tackles the issues that come with having muscular dystrophy but, thanks to Lakes Region Habitat for Humanity, things will become just a little easier with a new handicap accessible home.
“Many people and organizations are co-operating to get this house built”, according to Jason Hicks, vice president of Lakes Region Habitat for Humanity. John B. Robinson, president of Wood and Clay, is acting as the general contractor on the build.
“Not only is he donating his time to this effort, he has gotten many other members of the Lakes Region Builders and Remodelers Association involved.
These include Carl Johnson (surveying), Belknap Landscaping (excavation), Coleman Concrete, Mountain Top Builders (labor), Penco (plumbing), RJD Electric (electric), and Pella (windows). Other vendors making significant contributions include Rowell Sewer & Drain (porta-potty), Casella Waste Systems (dumpster), and Belletetes Lumber.
Hackett said that the donations and volunteer labor will make it possible to keep the costs affordable for the Soboslai family. The City of Franklin will also be partnering with Habitat for Humanity by building a turnaround at the end of the road to make the project possible.
John Robinson said that they hope to make it a green building, making it as environmentally friendly as possible. While it may be more costly to build, he hopes that volunteer work will offset much of the cost. He said that they hope for it to be a blitz build, which means that it will be constructed quickly with help from professionals and volunteers throughout the community.
According to Hicks, Lakes Region Habitat for Humanity received a grant of $30,000 from the Federal Loan Bank (FHLB) in Boston. He explained the FHLB has an Affordable Housing Program (AHP) that provides grants to build housing with a maximum of $30,000 per house. The AHP encourages local planning of affordable-housing initiatives. The FHLB’s member institutions work with local housing organizations to apply for funds to support initiatives that serve very-low-to-moderate-income households in their communities. Standing left to right are Eric Sargent and Dave Soter (Mountain Top Builders), Wally Strauch (Sanbornton Congregational Church), Wayne Hackett (Lakes Region Habitat), and Steve Majeski (Sanbornton Congregational Church). Front is Brendon Morrison (Sanbornton Congregational Church).
The Lakes Region Habitat for Humanity partnered with Meredith Village Savings Bank, who provided a construction loan for the project. The grant will pay off these costs which helps reduce the total construction costs.
Marilyn Deschenes, former president of Lakes Region Habitat for Humanity, said that there are three qualifications for the housing. The first is the need for housing, and the Soboslai family qualified due to Kelly’s muscular dystrophy as well as their current apartment not being handicap accessible. The second is the ability to pay. Deschenes said that Habitat set them up for success by putting the family through first time homebuyer courses. The third is the willingness to partner, requiring 500 hours of sweat equity. Deschenes said that this started a long time ago, and that work included classes, physical labor and other things done at home. Kelly has put together several flyers. “One thing we want to make clear is it’s not a giveaway program,” said Hicks. “It’s a no interest mortgage, but it’s still a mortgage.”
There have been fundraisers held up by both Habitat for Humanity and the Soboslai Family, including the sold out Cupcakes for a Cause which brought in $2,200. The Soboslai Family has also done fundraisers on their own, including a fall and a spring concert that together brought in more than $2,500 at St. James Episcopal Church, of which the Soboslai Family is a part.
They have also been fundraising in other small ways, including auctioning off a quilt that was made by Rob’s aunt, which raised $196. Rob also sold candy bars, raising $65.
On Friday, April 5, Lakes Region Habitat for Humanity held a fundraiser at the Inter-Lakes High School Gym, which featured the world famous Harlem Ambassadors versus the Winnipesaukee Warriors. Marriott TownePlace Suites donated rooms to the players and Patrick’s Pub and Eatery provided food. The Harlem Ambassadors are known for their unique brand of Harlem-style basketball, with high-flying slamdunks, wacky tricks and comedy routines.
“This may seem like a lot of help from these companies and volunteers, but building a house is an expensive task. The more donations we receive, the more volunteers that help, the less the family will actually have to pay for the house. Anyone interested in helping out should give us a call”, says Deschenes.
Lakes Region Habitat for Humanity is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International and has been providing decent, affordable housing in the Lakes Region since 1982. The organization has completed 31 homes during that time. The current project is the handicap accessible house construction in Franklin which will be their 32nd home. For more information, to donate or to get involved call 279-4820 or email email@example.com.
Standing left to right are Eric Sargent and Dave Soter (Mountain Top Builders), Wally Strauch (Sanbornton Congregational Church), Wayne Hackett (Lakes Region Habitat), and Steve Majeski (Sanbornton Congregational Church). Front is Brendon Morrison (Sanbornton Congregational Church).