Mount Airy Habitat begins work on two homes

David Broyles

July 9, 2014

Concrete slabs are poured and the walls are up on the Greater Mount Airy Habitat for Humanity’s 42nd and 43rd homes in Surry County as the organization welcomes more volunteers to the first Saturday of the builds this weekend.

Construction Manager Greg Russo said the sites on Galloway Street in Mount Airy were more conducive to “stick built” construction as the group switches gears from its recent partnership with Surry Community College and the Surry County Schools, where students constructed modular homes at North Surry High School which were transported to lots elsewhere.

Russo said some time has been saved on the two homes because the slabs eliminate the need for basement crawlspaces. He noted that while all Habitat homes are handicapped accessible, one of the two newest homes has been customized for even easier wheelchair access for future homeowner Kevin Sumner. He, Brandi Cote and their two boys, Kanyn Sumner, who is ten; and 5-year-old Braddox Sumner look to make the new house their home.

“Having these homes lower to the ground means there is zero steps,” said Russo. “They can step out and roll right to their driveway, front or back (yards).” He said another benefit of building from the slab up is new homeowners get to be involved in more of the process which strengthens their sense of ownership.

PVC conduits have been set in the slabs so plumbing may be pulled and redone during construction if the situation arises.

He said he is hoping the homes can be completed by September and is looking to have the roof trusses on by Saturday. While no large groups have stepped forward to volunteer for the build the volunteers are moving forward with an almost “build it and they will come” atmosphere.

According to Russo, each single story home will be 1,200 square feet and will have three bedrooms and three bathrooms. Finance Director Sheree Russo said the homes will be energy star efficient to make the homes low maintenance and energy efficient.

The second home has been identified for the family of Jennifer Fosner, and her three daughters, 11-year-old Katelyn, 8-year -old Amellia and 5-year-old Elizabeth. Fosner is a department manager in the fast food industry but couldn’t qualify for a loan. She volunteered for Habitat 15 years ago and briefly worked on a home.

“This is a big deal for us. I volunteered because we are not only helping ourselves, we are helping other people,” said Fosner. “Right now we are a large amount of family in a small amount of home with relatives. It is a challenge to be a 30-year-old sleeping with your three children.”

Fosner, who described herself as a country girl, said she is not dainty and hasn’t been scared to mix it up and learn on the build site. She said she and her daughters drive by the site “almost every day” and look at the progress.

“I’m so excited to be bringing them back this afternoon with the walls up,” Fosner said. “Change is hard on kids but they are excited and they will be super excited when they see the house now.”

Sheree Russo said the group is always interested in groups as well as individuals to lend a hand because volunteers as well as the “sweat equity” from deserving families makes a difference for everyone involved. Persons who would like to help with the projects may contact Administrative Assistant Alice Burgess at 789-4663.

David Broyles may be contacted at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.