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Habitat: 8 houses in 9 years

By By JULIE RUSSELL-The Brewton Standard
The Bible says to "love thy neighbor as thyself." If the meaning of the word "neighbor" is thought of merely as the person who lives on either side of you, Walt Whitman, one of the most celebrated American poets, helps to clear that notion. He saw "each man and woman" as his neighbor.
Habitat for Humanity is an international nonprofit ministry that attempts to combat the worldwide problem of poverty and homelessness, and the volunteers devote a lot of their time and hard work to helping neighbors in all communities.
Susan Krehbiel, board secretary, said that the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity has built eight houses in its nine years in Brewton. Each home has been constructed from mostly donated materials. Appliances, such as refrigerators and stoves, are provided by Whirlpool, and often, the land is donated or given at a reduced price.
The organization is always looking for new volunteers, and Krehbiel said that a good way to become acquainted with the responsibilities of a volunteer is to join the meeting at the Brewton Public Library this Sunday at 2 p.m. At the library, the organization will be celebrating its nine years and will be planning for the future for building Brewton.
Speaking of hurricanes, Krehbiel said that Habitat's current goal is to assist in providing homes for families affected by Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Dennis. They have received two grants from Habitat for Humanity International, and with the money they hope to build two homes in the Brewton and East Brewton area.
Krehbiel emphasized that Habitat does not give homes away, but does give interest-free mortgages to families who need help. The new homeowners pay a down payment of $600, and invest 400 hours of work into building their house.
Habitat keeps in touch with the homeowners long after the building process is over, making sure that the families know about, and are able to handle, all the work that comes with the upkeep of a home.
If you are interested in volunteering and cannot make the meeting on Sunday, call the Habitat office at 867-0095 and leave a message.