2017-11-01

Habitat home on track

by Gayle Wilson

  • <p>GAYLE WILSON PHOTO</p><p>Habitat for Humanity South Shore&#8217;s latest build, at 92 LaHave Street, could be home to the family chosen for it by early spring.</p>

Even though there appeared to be little activity taking place at the new Habitat for Humanity build on Bridgewater's LaHave Street, organizers say the project is on track as normal and they're hoping the family chosen for the home can move in this spring.

"A Habitat build doesn't happen seven days a week. Usually it's one day a week or two days a week ... it's a very slow process," says Hank Middleton, chair of Habitat for Humanity South Shore.

Chris Phillips, a former woodworking teacher who is working at the site on a regular basis, along with retired dentist Don Fraser, agreed.

"It does go in spurts." he told LighthouseNOW.

As is typical with other Habitat builds, the activity slowed down over the summer, when volunteers usually are involved in other activities.

Phillips noted as well that, for certain jobs, only volunteers certified in the particular tasks can undertake the work, which can contribute to delay as well.

The "spurts" come when organizations arrive with a group of volunteers for a day's work, such as the 143 Construction Engineer Flight reserves group, which have helped out on more than one occasion, and members of both the Bridgewater and Lunenburg Rotary Clubs, who pitched in on the weekend of October 21 and 22.

Each club donated $500 and came with a "significant amount of labor.

"Actually, they came with a bit more people than we planned on. So we did shifts. It very well and we got a lot of work done," said Middleton, noting that the rotary groups helped insulate the basement.

"Every time you make a step, there has to be an inspection. And after the inspection, there has to be materials brought in," Middleton added, further explaining the lengthy build process.

So far volunteers have built the foundation at 92 LaHave Street, erected the walls, put in insulation, had the floor done, installed temporary steps and insulation in the basement, and put the trusses up.

When LighthouseNOW spoke to Phillips last week, he was waiting to put the plywood up.

"And once the plywood's up we can shingle it. And the siding has already been ordered," he said.

The plan is to have the property "roof tight" by this week, with the siding work, electrical and plumbing work to follow that.

Phillips said he is "focusing on March Break," for when the family might move in.

Heather-Ann Slade and her four children were the winning candidates of this latest build of Habitat for Humanity South Shore.

Slade has been employed as a clerical support worker at South Shore Regional Hospital and Fishermen's Hospital for almost 20 years.

At a ceremony organized by Habitat for Humanity in July to introduce Slade and her family to the community, she said, "We've never been able to put down any roots anywhere. But you just can't. You're constantly trying to find cheaper housing. It was a consistent battle with us."

The mother of two boys and two girls, who range in age from 16 months to 19 years, told reporters at the time she has moved to nine different rental properties since her divorce in 2009, due to properties being sold, and the high cost of rent and heating.

"I drive by here in the mornings and I drive home after work. And I still can't believe that this is going to be our home," said Slade.

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