Fundraiser helps build houses for Coles County

The Eastern chapter for Habitat for Humanity and the Coles County Habitat for Humanity have helped build more than 20 houses in Coles County in the past 19 years.

Through their work, housing has been provided to 30 adults and 50 children.

The local Habitats are sponsoring “Giving from the Heart,” a dinner dance fundraiser on Saturday.

Habitat for Humanity is a nationwide, nonprofit, Christian organization that helps provide families in need with affordable housing.

Renee Revoy, president of the Eastern chapter, said families in need have to first apply for a house. Once they have applied, Habitat provides the family with an interest-free mortgage, but the family must show they are reliable and able to make the payments.

Even though the families receive a house interest-free, they must spend 250 to 500 hours building their own house.

“We call it sweet equity,” Revoy said. “Most people think that Habitat for Humanity just gives houses away, but really they provide opportunities for families to own a house with an interest free mortgage, but they do have to pay for their house.”

Habitat was organized in Coles County in 1989. With the help of many volunteers, donations and the families, homes could be sold interest free. The homes are sold from $55,000 to $60,000.

When a family moves into the home, they are given a Support Family. The Support Family offers advice to the new homeowners by helping them select floor plan options, colors and accessories. They also advise the families on responsible homeownership.

“I joined Habitat because I could see the results of my hard work,” Revoy said.

Revoy joined Eastern’s chapter a year and a half ago.

She said her most memorable moment with Habitat was when the Eastern chapter went to Clarksdale, Miss. to help a family build and move into their first home.

To help build houses for families in Coles County, money will be raised at Saturday’s fundraiser.

The cost to attend is $25 and $20 for students.

The fundraiser will start at 6:30 p.m. with an auction. Some of the items that will be auctioned are artwork, boat ride and gift certificates. The dinner dance will start at 7:30 p.m.

“My hopes are that in two years time our chapter will have enough funding to sponsor our own house here in Coles County,” Revoy said.

Zinika Livingston can be reached at 581-7942 or at [email protected]