A new home for a woman in need.

Published 11:25 pm Saturday, October 25, 2008

Another Habitat for Humanity home has been finished and the homeowner was handed her keys Friday only minutes after the closing.

Hundreds of people donated their time and energy to help build the new habitat home, said Habitat board member Donna Fischer.

Lynnsey Barnes is now the proud owner of her Habitat for Humanity home. Of the hundreds of people who donated their time, some of the most recent include Maude Ritchie and Sue Byrd, who donated a vacuum cleaner, dishes and groceries to Barnes’ new home.

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Fischer said Barnes lost her previous home during Hurricane Katrina and had been living with her sister since then. Friday, Barnes was presented the keys to her new home and can begin moving in as soon as possible.

Barnes’ home is special since it is especially built to cater to her needs. Since Barnes has a physical handicap, a ramp, special cabinets and appliances have all been installed to make Barnes comfortable.

Fischer said Barnes’ family helped her cover the necessary sweat equity involved to get her Habitat for Humanity home, installing the drywall and the electrical system.

Part of the financing for the home came from the USM Institute of Disabilities, said Home Ownership Counselor Tina Massey. They were notified of the effort to build the home for Barnes by the local Bank Plus CRA manager Mark Oellette, said Bank Plus Center Manger Lisa Keene. Bank Plus also donated $3,000 to build the home, Keene said.

“Bank Plus is our strongest local supporter,” said Habitat board member Gene Yeager.

The Institute of Disabilities through the Home of Your Own program helps people with disabilities get into home ownership by providing up to $15,000 for a down payment. Financial and budget counseling also are provided by the organization.

“The ultimate goal is to get them into home ownership,” Massey said.

Disability home ownership classes are held regularly. The next class will be held at the Gulfport Community Action Agency from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 22. Pre-registrations are preferred and can be made by calling 1-888-671-0051 or 601-266-5163, Massey said.