Habitat For Humanity Home Groundbreaking

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By Heather VacLav

Montgomery's Habitat for Humanity is working to improve the city's housing market by breaking ground on another new home Sunday.

The non-profit Christian-based organization is currently building two new homes and rehabilitating three others. The plans for their newest construction have been two years in the making...and will make one family's dreams come true.

“I prayed and prayed and prayed and he has answered me,” Carla Surls said wiping away tears.

Life is about to change for Carla and her son Brandon. Their family's church, United Methodist Church of Montgomery is working with Habitat for Humanity to help Carla afford her own home.

“It has been a dream for me for years,” she said. “This is something I have wished for, prayed for and finally God has answered my prayer, and a blessing has come true.”

Members from the United Methodist Church of Montgomery congregated outside the Surls’ future yard on Sussex Drive to celebrate the groundbreaking. 

“Most people join a church because they want to make a difference and so when you have a chance to do that, it reminds you this is what I joined for,” said Senior Minister Lawson Bryan.

The empty plot of land was donated to United Methodist Church of Montgomery many years ago, and they decided to give it to the Habitat for Humanity, and by doing so help one of their members family.

While Habitat’s homes are interest free and consist of roughly $300 monthly payments, they still cost about $60,000 to build.

“When we asked, ‘What's it going to cost to build it? $60,000. Do we have $60,000? Not right now. But we asked our congregation to give it and they've done it,” Minister Bryan said.

The builders expect to poor the homes foundation next Saturday, and as the excitement builds, Carla has relied on her friend Lisa White for advice. Habitat built White’s family a home in May 2008.

"It's very exiting, it's almost like you won the lottery, seriously, its like you won the lottery,” White said.

Habitat for Humanity said some members of the community don't understand what a home can mean for a family.

“So many people take a home for granted, a home is where you can live and dream what you want for your children, make plans for life, and build a life,” said Mark Chambless, President of the Board for Montgomery Habitat for Humanity.

Carla has worked hard for her home, and will continue to do so during the construction. Habitat for Humanity requires its homeowners to put in 500 hours of “sweat equity,” or work between other Habitat projects and the actual construction of their homes.

"Look what I've nailed in this wall, put in this wall, that wall, I put that plug up there!” Carla said as she demonstrated building her house.

“That way I can go back and tell everyone that this is what I did, I helped build my home and that's a great thing to me, it feels great inside,” she said.

The building process is three-fold, combining Carla and Brandon Surls with members of the United Methodist Church of Montgomery and volunteers from Habitat for Humanity; all will work with contractors to complete the Surls’ home by April 2012.

Montgomery’s Habitat for Humanity is also always looking for local support to build and renovate homes. If you are interested in volunteering on the Surls’ home or any other projects, you can call Habitat at 334-832-9313 or visit their office at 123 Julia Street, Montgomery, Alabama. 




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