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Charity builds home to aid local community

Benjamin Horvath | Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Notre Dame’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity will soon begin construction on a new energy-efficient home in nearby Mishawaka, marking the 19th house built through the University’s partnership with the organization.

The house is being built for single mother Ashley Anderson, who has two children under five years old.

Michael Weathers, the organization’s director of volunteer care, said the house will have a long-term impact on both Anderson’s family and the surrounding area.

“This house will add value to the community,” Weathers said. “We are building something that will have lasting value to the family.”

Graham said this is the third house Notre Dame has helped construct in this area of Mishawaka, which not only helps the individual family, but also begins to change the community.

“Habitat and Notre Dame want to give in a way that builds upon itself,” Graham said. “The whole area is improved by Habitat, and will allow for the family and area to reap more benefits down the road.”

Ian Graham, co-president of Notre Dame’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity, said Andersen is in the process of completing a sweat-equity program, which requires the homeowner to work a required number of hours on not only their own home, but other Habitat homes as well.

Weathers said the environment will also benefit from the construction project. The house will be Energy Star 3.0 compliant, meeting stricter environmental and energy standards than is required by law in an attempt to reduce the home’s energy cost and increase the home’s value, he said.

Graham said the most notable of the new energy-efficient features is the use of foam insulation as opposed to less energy efficient fiberglass.

Habitat’s commitment to energy-efficient practices signifies its long-term oriented philosophy, Graham said.

“Habitat is different from a typical construction company because we are not only interested in constructing the home, but also the long-term well-being of the family,” Graham said.

Graham said Habitat for Humanity’s continued goal is to build energy-efficient homes with low heating loss and energy costs for long-term benefits.

“We are doing this not only because it benefits the environment, but it benefits the family as well,” Graham said.

This will be the 19th home Notre Dame and Habitat for Humanity have built together, which Weathers said has been an “outstanding” partnership.

“The Notre Dame community has been helpful in an ongoing effort to erase homelessness and poverty in the community,” Weathers said. “This is one of the best experiences with an affiliate we’ve had.”

Graham said Notre Dame and Habitat for Humanity share the same basic goal for community service.

“Notre Dame and Habitat both share in the effort to eliminate poverty through affordable housing,” Graham said. “This reflects Notre Dame’s values of service and charity.”