Habitat for Humanity's 99th Home will be the "Pope Francis" home in Springfield


Habitat for humanity started their 99th home build in Springfield Monday, and hopes to find plenty of volunteers for their "blitz build" October 1-3 and October 8-10. The home site is at the corner of 9th and Welesley, and it was made possible mostly by an anonymous donor who refers to it as the "Pope Francis" Home. That donor wants to honor the Pope's visit to the United States and challenges Catholics and non Catholics to work together to finish this home. When St. John's Hospital officials learned about this, they immediately stepped in to help. "St. John's has partnered with the Diocese of Springfield to help make this home for Penney possible by contributing, I think in the range of about $30,000, to the $100.000 that the home will ultimately cost" Chuck Lucore, MD told WAND News Monday. He is the President and CEO of St. John's. 

The woman who will be living in the home is 54-year old Penney Porter, who raised 3 children and 4 grandchildren living in rental properties. Penney told us she tried many times to qualify for a mortgage. It wasn't until a friend suggested she apply for a Habitat home that her life changed. "Habitat helped me get my finances straightened out" she said. After 3 years of working with Habitat coaches, building credit and working countless hours in the Habitat ReStore, plus building other Habitat homes, Penney finally qualified for a zero percent interest mortgage through Habitat. She will make her first two mortgage payments before she moves in. The Executive Director of Habitat of Humanity Sangamon County hopes to recruit enough volunteers to have the home finished by mid-December. Porter told WAND News "If that happens it's going to be the most wonderful Christmas I ever had and the first Christmas I'll have with my whole family under one roof." 

Habitat volunteers can be as young as 16 with parental supervision and need no experience building homes. Volunteer coordinators assess your skills and assign you to certain areas. Some volunteers just serve food and water while others provide the muscle to put up walls and support beams, or just use a hammer and nails. The first Blitz Build will be this Thursday, Friday and Saturday from October 1-3, and the same thing the following week. You don't have to work all the days. Stone expects Saturdays to be the busiest and says this home will be built mostly on weekends, which is perfect for those who work and go to school. To learn more about volunteering or donating go to www.habitatsangamon.com or click "home" on this website, find "sitewatch" near the top of the home page and that will lead you to the direct link. 

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