Habitat kicks off home ‘recycling’ in Clover

news@enquirerherald.comOctober 12, 2013 

Johnny Moua and Nancy Vang, with their two children, Kenshin, 3, and Neji, 2, stand outside the Clover house that Habitat for Humanity of York County plans to rehabilitate so they can live there.

JENNIFER BECKNELL — news@enquirerherald.com

— Johnny Moua and Nancy Vang need a safe, clean home to raise their two preschool-age sons. But their mobile home between York and Clover, Moua said, “is falling apart.”

The roof leaks, Moua said, and the floorboards are misaligned, so the mobile home is not safe. Even worse, he said, is that the home has mold on the walls.

“I can’t see myself living there another year with the kids,” he said.

So Moua and Vang, who have been married for eight years, were thrilled to discover Habitat for Humanity of York County, which is helping the couple purchase a home in Clover, where they have family. They hope to move in by the end of next month.

“We can’t wait to move in,” said Vang, who noted that the couple’s boys will have plenty of room to play in the home’s half-acre yard and “they can finally have their own bedrooms.”

Habitat last week kicked off the project with a reception at the Pasley Place home in Clover where Moua and Vang plan to live. The three-bedroom, two-bath ranch was built as a Habitat project in 2006, but the previous owners moved and Habitat again took possession of the home.

Tim Veeck, executive director of Habitat, said the organization plans to recycle the home by making improvements including a new roof, cleaning and repainting, new appliances, countertops and fixtures and new flooring.

The Pasley Place rehabilitation effort is Habitat’s 2013 Woman Build project, Veeck said, meaning most of the volunteers are women. Clover and Allison Creek Presbyterian churches are teaming up as faith partners, providing volunteers who will work every Saturday.

Business partners are Family Trust Federal Credit Union, Innolect, Automatic Data Processing (ADP) and South Carolina Bank & Trust. In addition, Lowe’s is a national partner for Woman Build.

Veeck said the York County Habitat chapter would like to do more housing “recycling” projects, in addition to new construction. The rehab effort is part of the focus of the national Habitat organization because housing rehabilitation is faster and less costly than new construction.

“Particularly in Western York County, we’ve heard from folks that have a need for or a desire for that,” Veeck said.

Moua and Vang learned about Habitat from friends and applied for the housing project. They already have accumulated more than 100 volunteer hours each on several other Habitat projects.

Habitat requires each adult applicant to contribute at least 250 volunteer hours of “sweat equity” on Habitat projects, including homes other than their own. They also must show a financial ability to repay the mortgage.

Moua and Vang, said Veeck, “are one of our model families.”

Vang works as a distribution clerk with Britax Child Safety in Fort Mill. Moua, who was laid off from his job as a machine operator three years ago, has been staying home with their sons, Kenshin, 3, and Neji, 2.

Vang said the couple decided it would be more cost effective for him to stay home than to pay for child care.

Vang said she and her husband were both born in Merced, Calif., and have lived in the York area for about nine years.

Crystal McClung, resource development coordinator for the local Habitat, said groups of 10 to 15 volunteers will be working at the home each Saturday. She said there isn’t a shortage of construction volunteers.

“Everyone wants to participate in Woman Build,” McClung said, noting that some volunteers from other states have called with offers to help. “It’s a great opportunity to work in your own community — but if you want to travel, it also lets you volunteer in a different place.”

In addition to construction work, McClung said Habitat also needs volunteers for other missions, such as fundraising.

Vang said the Pasley Place house “is just big enough for my family.” She said the couple is grateful to be able to find housing through Habitat.

“We have been blessed with so many things in our lives, but one of the greatest gifts was to have met and known the Habitat family,” she wrote to Habitat about her experience. “We are ecstatic in becoming home owners and appreciate everyone who has helped us through this journey.”

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