BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Another example of community cooperation has created a home for yet another Fort Madison family.
The Fort Madison chapter of the Habitat for Humanity will be doing a dedication ceremony for the group’s 10th and newest addition to a city neighborhood on Thursday at 5 p.m.
The new home located in the 3000 block of Avenue K will be dedicated to Jennifer Chapman and her family by the chapter.
Tony Wolfe, the current president of the chapter said the building once again is the culmination of efforts by many individuals and groups in Fort Madison.
“We want to welcome our newest homeowner. In addition to that, we are thankful to all the folks who helped contribute to the project in any form of support, whether it was money, labor or a just a friendly smile. Thanks for doing that,” Wolfe said.
“We have a lot of people who tell us that and you know, it makes you feel good. Our lives are very busy and it’s just good that people that are picking something to help with.”
He said the city of Fort Madison got the ball rolling by providing ground to build on. He said the city usually provides assistance when they can to get each project off the ground.
The Fort Madison High School’s building trades class took on the project during the last school year. Wolfe said the classroom did different aspects of the construction.
“If it wasn’t for them, we probably wouldn’t be where we are today. We so much appreciate all the work they did on the house.”
He said other local contractors were also gracious in helping with the finer code details of the home and with HVAC and cement work.
“This was a concerted effort from a lot of people,” Wolfe said. “There’s a core group of about four of us that were there from the time school ended until it got finished up.”
As part of the approval process for homeowners, the family must also put in a little sweat equity and Wolfe said the Chapman family was on the scene a lot doing painting with family and friends and helping install insulation.
Funds for the project come from previous homeowners, and interest made on some restricted investment funds the chapter holds. The new homeowners pay a mortgage just like any other homeowner, but the principal of the payment goes back to the chapter and is invested for future homes. The chapter also gets money from private and public groups as well as donations of products and supplies.
“We usually average a house every couple of years. We have all the money ready when we start building. Whatever the total cost, the homeowner pays all that back. It’s an interest free loan and we escrow taxes and insurance. It’s a regular mortgage,” he said.
Wolfe said this is his 16th year with the Greater Keokuk Habitat for Humanity and he has lead the local group for about three years. He said the group could use more community members and leaders to step in help.
“We need more people interested in moving the organization forward,” he said. “I’m a little afraid that if we don’t get people to rotate in and step up to the plate, it may be hard to continue. The main thing is that we want people to know that we are active, and we remain interested in this community.”