Habitat for Humanity To Break Ground on Home

The Wheeling Area Habitat for Humanity will break ground Nov. 16 for its latest building project on 33rd Street, where a working mother and her three children soon will have a home to call their own, Bob Kennen told Wheeling Kiwanis Club members Thursday.

Kennen, a local real estate agent and president of the local Habitat group’s board of directors, spoke at the club’s meeting at WesBanco Arena to drum up support for the project with the planned start of construction just two weeks away.

“The only thing we need is lots of community support. … My goal is having tons of people doing little things,” Kennen said.

Kennen also showed club members a video in which the South Wheeling home recipient, who only chooses to be identified as “Cathy,” shares her story. She said she recently found out she and her children would have to leave their apartment.

She spoke of her fear that she would be forced to separate from her children if she could not find a new place to live. All the houses and apartments she looked at, however, either cost too much or would not be suitable for her 14-year-old daughter who is handicapped and uses a wheelchair to get around.

The pastor at the Vineyard Church urged her to apply for help from Habitat for Humanity, and she ultimately was chosen to receive the 33rd Street home.

“I just prayed and prayed, because we really needed somewhere to go. … God gave me the best gift of all – a house that will be mine,” she said.

Habitat partner families must put a $500 down payment on a home, put hundreds of hours of their own labor into its construction as well as repay the organization over time for building costs. That partnership, said Kennen, is “the magic of Habitat.”

“We’re helping people own a home. … The families actually buy the home,” he said, noting home ownership is important because it fosters pride and a sense of stability.

The Wheeling Habitat for Humanity group formed in 1989, Kennen said, with a home renovation on Vine Street for a single mother with two children and two grandchildren all living under one roof as its first project.

Its latest endeavor, completed in 2009, was a new home in Triadelphia for a woman and her three daughters who had been living at the YWCA’s shelter for domestic violence victims.