OGDEN -- Ten years ago, a home on Jefferson Avenue burned to the ground, and sadly, the owner of the home did not survive.
This past week, however, Habitat for Humanity of Weber and Davis Counties took over the lot and is building a new home for a family in need.
The organization also kicked off A Brush With Kindness, a neighborhood preservation program that focuses on exterior home renovation that includes painting, landscaping, weather stripping and minor repair services for homeowners in need. The kickoff was held in the Jefferson Avenue neighborhood.
"Around 15 people showed up to help to continually fill four pickup trucks," said Joel Lee, president of Habitat for Humanity. "The project has involved many local companies and trades through generous donations of free and reduced labor and material costs. It's also involved volunteer groups and individuals wanting to make a difference."
Some of the volunteers included members of First Presbyterian Church, neighbors and two families earning their way toward home ownership.
The home nearing completion is at 3457 Jefferson Ave. Brian Van Gorp, project engineer for Kier Construction Corp., said construction started in January. The two-story home includes three bedrooms.
"Given that this was my first house for Habitat, I was astonished at the generosity of the community," he said. "Some I called for help, while others contacted me and asked how they could help. There are some individuals and companies that really made this possible. Without their help, this house could not have been built within the budget."
To qualify to live in a home, Habitat selects partner families based on income, need and willingness to partner, said Brook Lyons, past president and communications chairman. The organization affiliates use volunteer labor and donated materials to keep costs low, and take no profit for their services. In addition, a no-interest loan is made to the homeowner to cover the cost of the project. Payments made by the homeowners are placed in a revolving fund to help A Brush with Kindness serve others in need.
"Not only are we trying to help people own their own homes, but we are helping homeowners stay in their homes," Lee said. "We have been contacted by many homeowners in the two-county area with issues of roofing, siding and the like, where code enforcement and lack of compliance could possibly cost them the roofs over their heads. This would lead to more people being forced to seek housing on some sort of government assistance. A Brush With Kindness is a way to retain pride in neighborhoods and home ownership."
Lee said if you are looking for a way to provide something good and lasting in your community, a single day of help with A Brush With Kindness can possibly fulfill a homeowner's dream of pride in his home and his fellow man, and will certainly give back more to the one who volunteers.
If interested, call 801-475-9821 or go to the website: habitatwd.org.