Habitat plans home for holidays

Published 11:27pm Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Habitat for Humanity wants to put a family in a home by the holidays.

On Nov. 5, the organization will begin its first major house build in more than a year — its first in Brewton in two years.

Escambia County Habitat for Humanity Director Alecia Glaize said she thinks volunteers have not lost their enthusiasm for building even though it has been a while since a project began.

“Today we went to put up a Habitat sign (at the home site),” she said. “While we were there, someone saw us and offered to volunteer. That was encouraging.”

The house will be the new home for the Thompson family, who hope to move in just in time for Christmas this year.

The house will take Habitat’s mission of building safe homes one step further — it will incorporate a “safe room,” part of a FEMA-sponsored program for Habitat homes in the state.

The concrete reinforced safe room will be designed to FEMA specifications and incorporated into the architectural plans by the Auburn University School of Architecture as part of a learning project called “Design Habitat.” FEMA is picking up 75 percent of the costs of the safe room.

“This is something really unique for Alabama,” Glaize said. “Since we’re in hurricane alley and are also prone to occasional tornadoes, the safe room will insure the Thompsons will only have to walk a few feet to find shelter during severe weather.”

Glaize said the Thompson family are not strangers to disaster — Janice Thompson lost her job at a local seafood market after the BP oil spill. That caused a delay for the family, who have been on a waiting list for a house for two years, Glaize said. Mrs. Thompson is now working again and the family is looking forward to the new home.

Work on the house will begin Saturday, Nov. 4, at 9 a.m., on Mayo Street in East Brewton, and will continue for several weekends until the home is ready for the holidays.

Volunteers are encouraged to register so that Habitat knows how much to prepare for lunch each work day, Glaize said. Anyone interested can sign up on the Habitat Web site at www.escambiahfh.org or by calling the office at 867-0095.

Glaize said mid-week builds will likely be necessary to meet the six-week timeframe, so she encouraged church or business groups that would like to take part during the week to register as well.

Ironically, the Thompsons are neighbors to the Woods family, who also helped build their own Habitat house in East Brewton in 2008.

Patriarch Larry Woods died last week, and Glaize said he was looking forward to helping with the project.

“He will be with us in spirit,” she said.

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