News

Virus puts house behind schedule

Henry County Habitat for Humanity works around COVID delays on its 28th house

Henry County Habitat for Humanity is currently working on its 28th house, located in Wayland. Because of the pandemic, the build schedule is behind by about five months. (Contributed photo)
Henry County Habitat for Humanity is currently working on its 28th house, located in Wayland. Because of the pandemic, the build schedule is behind by about five months. (Contributed photo)
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MT. PLEASANT — Despite delays due to the pandemic, Henry County Habitat for Humanity is pushing forward with building its 28th home in Wayland for Corrine Sines and her family.

Operations manager Lisa Diener said the volunteer group of builders has worked seven Saturdays so far, starting in mid-October. Usually the group begins in April or May with hopes of getting the partner family into the home by the end of December.

But with a delay on start dates, weather and a loss of volunteers from the Mt. Pleasant Correctional Facility, Diener said the nonprofit is about five months behind its usual schedule. The operations manager said the house will most likely finish around June 2021, at which point the group will go directly into building the next house.

“It was mostly because we were shut down. Nothing was being built. It just seemed to take a long time to get bids in combination with that,” Diener said.

Under normal circumstances, Diener said the nonprofit gets help from local incarcerated individuals, who construct the walls of the structure and work as volunteers to help with construction. Day 1 of the build is usually setting day if the walls have been constructed off-site.

With the pandemic and tighter restrictions on inmate travel and activities, the group did not get that boost this year.

“If the inmates came and helped, we’re usually a month ahead of schedule,” Diener said.

“They’re not letting any of the inmates out so right there, we lose six volunteers,” she added.

Currently, the group is working to finish the new structure’s roof and have everything closed in before the weather worsens and snow begins to fall. Diener said the volunteers finished half the roof last week and aim to finish the other half this coming Saturday.

“We’ll shingle it the following weekend,” the operations manager said of the building plan.

Despite the delays, Diener said she still is excited for Sines and her two sons to move into the three-bedroom house.

“It’s just about having a place they can call their own, feel safe in, be proud of,” she said.

Sines and her family are contributing 300 hours of sweat equity toward the house, located at the corner of West Second and South Jefferson Street.

Diener said the nonprofit sees a steady nine volunteers each week but is always looking for extra hands. She added that once the roof is finished, volunteers would be able to spread out throughout the house to work on different rooms.

The operations manager added volunteers do not need to have a background in construction or any prior experience. Those who cannot participate in the building can still help by donating lunches to volunteers, who work every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“We’re always looking for community support. Volunteers don’t have to be skilled. We’re happy to take pretty much anybody,” Diener said.

Those interested in volunteering or donating can contact Diener at 319-385-0656 or hchhinia@yahoo.com.