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Habitat breaks ground on 13th housing project

A lot on Jefferson Street in South Boston once used for a swimming pool and town reservoir is now the site for the 13th house built by volunteers with Tri-River Habitat for Humanity.

Plans call for a 32-foot by 48-foot house with four bedrooms and two full baths, a living room and a laundry area, according to Mike Koch, Habitat president.

The Town of South Boston donated the land used for the house, which will be built entirely with the labor of volunteers, he added.

“The support by our local businesses and contractors has just been outstanding,” said Koch, noting both the donation of materials and labor to bring the project to fruition.

“We couldn’t do it without them.”

Habitat provides a hand up, rather than a handout, Koch explained.

“The homeowner agrees to pay the mortgage, insurance and the taxes, and he’ll get in turn an interest free 20-year loan,” he pointed out.

It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved, Koch continued.

“You take a vacant piece of property and return it to the tax rolls,” he noted.

“We buy all our supplies from local contractors and employ local contractors, and people in the community get a chance to volunteer. It’s a win-win for everybody.  It puts a family in close proximity to work, schools, hospitals and shopping.”

The town had donated the land used for construction of Habitat’s 12th house nearby on College Street, part of an ongoing effort with several community partners to assist low- to moderate-income families with affordable housing, according to Town Manager Ted Daniel. 

“This used to be swimming pool for many, many kids, and this was an open reservoir before we took it down about six or seven years ago with the intent to provide infill housing in this neighborhood,” said Daniel. “This habitat house will fill in perfectly with our neighborhood revitalization house.”

The town has partnered with Community Action Agency to build a couple of houses, and the Jefferson Street project is the third or fourth time the town has donated land for Habitat housing, Daniel commented. 

“We continue to work with Southside Outreach at Poplar Creek, and there are going to be some buildable lots there.

“The town stands ready to be a partner with Habitat, always has been, always will be, and you are to be commended for doing this.”

Tri-River Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1987 for the two-fold purpose of building homes in Halifax County and providing local residents, clubs, organizations and churches opportunities for volunteer service and contributions to improve the quality of life of needy residents.

Habitat for Humanity International was founded in 1976, with the vision of a world where everyone had a decent place to live.

A non-profit ecumenical Christian housing ministry, Habitat International has helped build over 500,000 affordable houses worldwide.