Volunteers help build new home for local family

Cris Ritchie — Editor

September 30, 2013

Several volunteers were in attendance early Saturday morning in the Brownsfork community, standing around a block foundation of what is to become the county’s newest house. By the time they left in the afternoon, that house had taken a definite shape.

Those men and women were volunteering as part of the Housing Development Alliance’s annual Community House Raising, something the organization has done every year now since 2005. This newest house will belong to a couple with two children. The father was recently laid off from work, while the mother works as a nurse at the Hazard ARH.

“We’re hoping to have the family moved in by the end of the year,” noted Scott McReynolds, executive director for the Housing Development Alliance, a non-profit operating in Perry County to help local residents with affordable housing and repairs. The house at Brownsfork makes the 194th home the HDA has begun in Perry County.

In total, McReynolds said 75 people were signed up to volunteer for the Community House Raising, which is an event that garners a lot of local participation each year. This year, the HDA allowed volunteers to sign up for two-hour increments because in past years more volunteers were signing up than the project had use for.

“We can get a few extra volunteers this way,” he said.

Hazard resident Paula Francis was one of this year’s volunteers, who said it was her first time to help with the house raising; she decided to sign up after her mother did. By the time her two hours were up Saturday morning, all of the house’s exteriors walls were up and the front porch framed. She said it was a good feeling knowing she was part of an effort that will culminate in a new home for a local family.

“It makes me feel good,” Francis said. “It does.”

The Community House Raising also has a practical effect for the HDA, McReynolds added, as it reduces costs, allowing the organization to do more with the money they have.

“It helps us do more with our resources because volunteers save on the labor, and then we have a bunch of generous sponsors that make donations to support this effort,” he said.

The new home is the fourth the HDA has begun in the subdivision on Brownsfork. McReynolds said he expects construction for a fifth to begin later this year.