Habitat has no shortage of 'sweat equity' requests - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Habitat has no shortage of 'sweat equity' requests

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Artis Johnson, his sister Marjorie, and niece Destiny Walker Artis Johnson, his sister Marjorie, and niece Destiny Walker

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  There's been a staggering increase in the number of people reaching out to Habitat for Humanity for help getting a home.

Flint River Habitat, based in Albany, is working with close to 200 families right now to provide them with better living conditions.

Habitat officials say the bad economy and many job layoffs in Albany has increased the need for their homes tremendously. One year ago their workshops would have 30 families. This year their are between 175 to 200 families ready to work to fulfill their dream of owning their own home.

Artis Johnson, his sister Marjorie, and niece Destiny Walker all live in a crowded one bedroom one bath apartment, sometimes with other relatives. 9 year old Destiny dreams of her own bedroom, that she can pick out the colors of the walls.

Artis Johnson is helping build his families home by working sweat equity hours at Flint River Habitat for Humanity, cleaning and painting the organization's headquarters everyday.

"I'm excited about it. That means a whole lot to me," Johnson said.

Flint River Habitat for Humanity Family Services Coordinator Daphyne Ewings said "He's paying for his house. Yes. It's a mortgage. Nothing is free. It's not a giveaway."

Johnson must complete 500 sweat equity hours for payment on his home,and then pay $350  a month on the mortgage. But that is less than his rent now. Habitat officials say they are seeing many more families in this bad economy desperately looking for housing they can afford.

Flint River Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Stacey Odom Driggers said "They need a house. They are paying outrageous rents and want the home ownership dream."

Artis Johnson is working to build his home everyday, and Destiny Walker is dreaming about her own bedroom. "And I want Hannah Montana in my room," she said.

Artis Johnson is well on his way to making that dream come true. Habitat officials say they hope to start construction of Johnson's home in their October blitz.

Flint River Habitat for Humanity has built 126 homes for families in Albany, and their goal is ten more in 2009.

They badly need volunteers, and are urging all of us to help by volunteering.

      • Click HERE to learn more about Flint River Habitat

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