Habitat works with churches to build home

AIKEN --- Habitat for Humanity is going back to its Christian roots in its newest effort to build a home for a needy family.


The organization broke ground last weekend on the home, collaborating with four churches as part of its Worship Build program.

Construction of the house, which is for a single mother and her three children, will begin on April 19. As part of Habitat's rules, she will contribute 200 "sweat equity" hours during the construction, which is expected to last four months.

The Worship Build was chosen to celebrate the Aiken County chapter's 20th anniversary this month, said Richard Church, executive director of the local chapter.

"As recognition of the support we have received from the community, but also from God and the churches, we thought this would be the perfect way to do that," he said. "We have given a spiritual approach to this house."

Founded decades ago, the national Habitat group began as a Christian organization devoted to eliminating poverty and substandard housing.

The group, however, welcomes everyone, Mr. Church said.

"We are totally open," he explained. "We do not have any restrictions on faith -- or non-faith."

However, this home is emphasizing the organization's religious beginnings, he said. Two of the churches involved in the Worship Build are founding members of the local chapter.

The Worship Build home will be in the 300 block of Union Street in Aiken.

The churches working with Habitat on the project are First Baptist Church, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church, St. John's United Methodist Church and St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church.

Established in 1988, the Aiken County chapter of the national organization has built 67 houses over the years.

Home No. 68 is under construction, and Home No. 69 is set for a start date this month. The Worship Build will be the organization's 70th house.

Mr. Church said the organization is looking to increase its efforts over the next two decades, upping the number of homes built every year, adding more themed "builds" and maybe changing the home styles.

The group has accomplished much in its history already, he said, by more than tripling its annual budget, doubling the number of homes built every year and building 26 homes overseas.

For more information about Aiken Habitat for Humanity, call (803) 642-9295 or visit the organization's Web site at www.habitataiken.org.

Reach Sandi Martin at (803) 648-1395, ext. 111, or sandi.martin@augustachronicle.com.