Raise the Roof
Habitat for Humanity of Marshall County Builds Homes For Those In Need
Photographer / Jubilee Edgell
For more than 20 years, the Habitat for Humanity of Marshall County, housed in Plymouth, has been providing quality aid to those in need. Executive Director Dean Byers has watched the organization grow since he first came into the group in 2003.
Habitat for Humanity of Marshall County started in 1998 when a small group of volunteers formed a local affiliate. To this day, volunteers remain the most vital part of the group’s success. In fact, the gracious people who donate their time are one of Byers’s favorite parts of the organization.
“There are several best parts,” he says. “One is to be able to give homeownership to a family. The second one is to have so many volunteers committed to the projects.”
There are three ways in which someone can give their time to Habitat for Humanity of Marshall County. The first option is working on building a house. People are invited to share their time and talents to construct a home for other community members in need.
The next option that volunteers could participate in is the program A Brush with Kindness, which can provide routine home maintenance or critical home repairs for people. For major projects, like drilling a new well or replacing a roof, Habitat for Humanity of Marshall County pairs people with grant programs that will help complete the payment for a project.
“We need people with skills to go out and take care of those repairs for those homeowners,” Byers says.
The third option for volunteers would be in the Restore. The Restore looks for people who are willing to help organize products, sorting them and pricing them. While they have about 250 hours of volunteer time clocked in every month, they are always looking for more people, seeing as how the store moves a lot of product. The Restore itself is able to exist because of donated items. They are always looking for more donations, whether they be household items or monetary donations.
“We try to keep things affordable, and the fact that they’re donated makes it easy to do that,” explains Restore Manager, Mike Orr. “We try to reduce things going to the landfills by accepting these donations. Sometimes an item might not be sellable as a refrigerator. We can get scrap value out of it, and that provides more income for the funds to build the houses.”
Thanks to the generous donations of the community, the Habitat for Humanity of Marshall County will soon begin building three more homes. This will bring the total count of homes to 23 since the group’s beginnings. The new homes will be built in Plymouth.
The process of building a home goes through quite a few steps before building can even begin. First, the land has to be purchased by the organization. Then, it has to be surveyed. For the new Plymouth lot, since it is big enough for three homes, the group has to go through a process to get a small subdivision approved. After they finish all of the initial paperwork and procedures, they can begin on actually building the home. The process of building typically takes at least nine months. This is due to the number of volunteers. They meet once or twice a week to work on the house, so it takes a while. It’s all worth it, though.
The group’s work is beneficial for not just the families that will move into the new homes, but for the community, as well. By bringing in families to the area, the tax base is increased and more students are enrolled in local schools. It strengthens the community.
“We’re in the process of applying for a grant to build more homes in the area,” Byers says. “It’s through the Indiana Housing Community Development Authority, and it’s called Home Funds.”
If you are interested in volunteering or in learning more, feel free to reach out to them in person, on the phone, or online. You can visit their Restore at 116 S Walnut Street in Plymouth, or you can give them a call at 574-935-4214. Visit them online at habitatomc.org. They are open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.