Habitat for Humanity volunteers work hard to put families - WNCN: News, Weather

Habitat for Humanity volunteers work hard to put families in new homes

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NEW BERN, N.C. -

A Craven County woman who used to live in a moldy apartment is getting ready to move into a better place.

Habitat for Humanity is building her a brand new home with the help of more than a dozen volunteers.

Next to the train tracks on Crescent Street in New Bern, the home is slowly taking shape for 32-year-old Amanda Darnell. The mother of two will move into the house in a few weeks.
It will be a big change from where she used to live.

"[From] the previous apartment I had that got all moldy, it's a 360 change," said Darnell.

She says the mold ruined nearly everything she had, and even started to affect her daughters' health.

Habitat for Humanity volunteers have worked for months building her a better home. Mark Beard is the nonprofit's executive director.

"A lot of our framing, trim work, siding, shingles, are done by volunteers," said Beard.

Volunteer Robert Timmel says he retired from the Secret Service. He says he was at the site of the home from day one when the house was nothing more than a concrete slab.

"I enjoy giving back to the community. I had a career of 35 years in law enforcement, where I didn't have time to volunteer. I was constantly on call, traveling all over the place," said Timmel.

Beard says it takes 14-20 volunteers to build a home.

Darnell has to pitch in too. And she says she has to pay habitat $80,000 for the house.

But it would be even more expensive without the volunteers.

"[The use of volunteers] probably cuts a direct cost of about $15,000 out of each house we build. It helps keeps it affordable for the homeowner, and that's something we don't pay a trade contractor here in town," said Beard.

Volunteers often work side by side, through all types of weather, building friendships along the way. Many of them started with little or no construction experience, until they picked up skills in the field.

They take great pride in their work.

"There's a lot of really, really good people in this community that want to give back…and knowing what we're doing to help other people, that's what keeps us going," said Richard Peebles, a Habitat for Humanity volunteer.

Darnell says she's lucky she will have this new home. Getting a traditional home would be difficult because she says her credit score isn't good enough.

"I'm very blessed to have people that's willing to help me out," said Darnell. "I really appreciate them. I will always be indebted to them for that," said Darnell.

Since 1989, Habitat for Humanity of Craven County has built 55 homes for people in substandard housing.

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