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Dedication of 20th Habitat house in Athens County set for Sunday

ATHENS, Ohio (July 21, 2006) -- Athens County Habitat for Humanity will celebrate the dedication of its 20th house on Sunday, July 23, at 20 W. Fourth Street in The Plains, Ohio.  The ceremony will begin at 3 p.m.  It is the second house built by the Ohio University Coalition of Athens County Habitat for Humanity.

The house was built for Ohio University alumna Robin Brigante, who was rendered paraplegic after she was involved in an automobile accident in fall 2004. She went on to earn her bachelor of specialized studies degree in 2005 and works locally as a drug and alcohol counselor. She will live in the house with her 20-year-old son, Treavis Poynter.

ACHFH Board President Mick Harris said, "This was a tremendous opportunity for the Ohio University Coalition to help a family with a need. This project engaged the Ohio University community with the local Athens community for a very worthy cause."

The National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati and the Community Housing Improvement Program are partners in the building project with the Ohio University Coalition. Retired Ohio University employee Andy DePalma was the construction coordinator for the project.

At the groundbreaking ceremony for the house in March, Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis said, "Ohio University is committed to actively sharing our resources to improve the quality of life in southeastern Ohio. We are especially proud to be involved in this build as we work to create a home for one of Ohio University's own, Robin Brigante, who has shown incredible strength as she earned her degree and displayed a distinct commitment to her education."

More than 20 interior architecture students from the university's College of Health and Human Services' School of Human and Consumer Sciences helped develop floor plans for the build under the leadership of Associate Professor David Matthews. The students were part of the Design Group student organization, which initiated its partnership with Habitat for Humanity because of a desire to be active in community projects while learning directly from the design and construction experience.

The purchase of the lot was made possible by a grant from the CHIP program and Ohio University employee, Jim Yute, and his wife, Maggie, who sold the property at below market value.

More than 900 families in Athens County live in substandard housing, according to the Athens Metropolitan Housing Authority. A study compiled by the Habitat for Humanity in Washington, D.C., found that 38 percent of Habitat homeowners said their new Habitat home had a positive effect on the physical health of their children and 63 percent reported a positive change in their children's grades at school.

Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical, nonprofit organization whose goal is to eliminate substandard housing by working in partnership with families to build safe, decent and affordable homes. Costs are kept low by using as much volunteer labor and donated materials as possible. To select future Habitat homeowners, the Habitat reviews an applicant family's need for a home, ability to repay a no-interest mortgage and willingness to partner with Habitat. The selected families are required to contribute hundreds of hours of "sweat equity" on their homes, by working side by side with Habitat volunteers on building-related projects such as construction and fundraising.

Each Habitat for Humanity home is sold to a family in need at no profit and at no interest. The cost of the home is then repaid by a no-interest mortgage over a fixed period of time. These payments are then recycled to build more houses in Athens County. Homes have been built in Athens, Coolville, Amesville, Nelsonville, Sharpsburg and Glouster. Nineteen homes have been built in Athens County since 1990.

Directions to the house 

From the corner of 682 and Union Street:

  • Take 682 north toward The Plains.
  • Drive 2.8 miles until you get to Cross Street on the left.
  • Turn left onto Cross Street.
  • Follow Cross Street for about 2/10ths of a mile.
  • Turn left onto W. Fourth Street.
  • Follow W. Fourth Street for about 1/10th of a mile.
  • The property is on the right just before W. Fourth Street ends.

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Media Contact: Media Relations Coordinator Jessica Stark, (740) 597-2938 or starkj@ohio.edu, or Director of Media Relations Jack Jeffery, (740) 597-1793 or jefferyj@ohio.edu

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