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Habitat for Humanity helping area residents

Habitat for Humanity has been doing great things in our region for many years now.

It’s a global nonprofit that operates in all 50 states and more than 70 countries around the world under a simple set of guidelines: It looks to build strength, reliability and self-reliance in partnership with people and families who are in need of a decent and affordable home.

The latest example of its work in our region came June 19, when the family of Gina and Bryant Mowry moved into their newly renovated home in Mingo Junction.

Members of the family were emotional during a ceremony in which they made their first payment and received the keys to their 1,200-square-foot home. Originally built in 1949, the house has four bedrooms, a bath, a patio, a car port and detached garage. The family also found a new kitchen, new appliances, new flooring, air conditioning, a new roof and new porch railing.

Because of the Habtiat program, the Mowrys, who have three children, were able to move out of the two-bedroom rental they had been living in. Now, as Gina Mowry explained, the family has a place where their children can play and feel safe.

Families who participate in a Habitat for Humanity project must be involved. In addition to living in substandard housing and having a steady income, successful applicants must provide sweat equity, either by working on their own property or at another Habitat project and participating in a financial literacy course. Bryant Mowry, for instance, worked on a project in Dennison and traveled to Canton for classes.

When the process is complete, the homeowners get a newly built or renovated home with an affordable zero-percentage mortgage.

It is, in short, about “giving great people a shot at changing the future for their family,” as Courtney Brown of Habitat for Humanity East Central Ohio explained. The organization has a lot of experience in helping people in our region — since 1988, it has built or preserved 547 homes in Jefferson, Harrison, Carroll, Stark and Tuscarawas counties.

Volunteers and donations help cover some of that work, often with the help of corporations. Encino Energy and Williams Energy, for instance, both were involved with the Mingo Junction house.

Thanks to the work of Habitat for Humanity, more people have the opportunity to live in affordable housing, and that helps make our communities better places to live for all of their residents.

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