Habitat for Humanity builds a home in two days

Published 1:34 am Sunday, October 4, 2009

Students, local volunteers and some professional contractors teamed up with the intention to build one woman’s home in just two days.

That effort took place this weekend, from Friday morning to Sunday morning, at the corner of South Haugh Avenue and Harris Street.

The new homeowner, Tanya Jordan, and a number of volunteers and construction workers all teamed up to build the newest addition to Genesis Village, the collection of homes built by Pearl River County Habitat for Humanity along Haugh Avenue.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Even though Jordan said she only has about 23 hours left in her 200 hours of sweat equity, one of many requirements of Habitat for Humanity, she planned to “work till I drop.” The new home will be the new domicile for her and her four sons.

“I never thought in a million years that this would be mine,” Jordan said.

The new home will be the beginning of a future for her and her family and the end of her paying rent, which she said she has done for the past 15 years.

“That man upstairs has really been watching over me and my boys,” Jordan said.

Friday afternoon when her children got out of school, she planned to show them the progress that was made on the house.

This effort was the sixth time that students and staff from Villanova University in Pennsylvania have helped build a home for Pearl River County Habitat for Humanity. This time, 33 students and three faculty members came to Picayune for the effort. Most of the students on this visit were newcomers to Pearl River County Habitat volunteerism. Only four had been here before, said Villanova professor Robert Nydick.

While the number of students who came to volunteer this year has dwindled since last year, Nydick expects the numbers to pick up when university volunteers come again in the spring. Usually, once students get a taste of volunteering, they want to do it again, and others come with them, he said. Last year Nydick said he brought about 55 people with him.

The construction process was speeded up by using pre-fabricated sections of the home. The walls even had the wiring pre-installed, complete with outlet boxes. Roof joists also were pre-fabricated. In about three hours, workers had the walls and roof joists placed on the foundation.

“Even though they’ve only been here three hours, they’re already excited about the progress,” Nydick said.

With workers expected to work around the clock, the trick was to ensure that there was always something to do. Nydick said he was not worried about the students staying busy during the first day since the adrenaline will be flowing. On the following day, he said Dennis Collier, the contractor overseeing construction of the home, has historically been good about keeping the students busy.

Since work was planned to go on all night, the group established a schedule so some students could rest while others continued working, the groups would rotate.

Villanova has been a part of the construction process in Genesis Village since its beginning.

“I still get chills when I drive up this street,” Nydick said. “It’s been a wonderful partnership that we have with Pearl River County Habitat.”