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Habitat house is a ‘dream’ house for owner

Kevin Hathaway is a step closer to walking into his new Habitat for Humanity House.
Last Saturday a group of supporters held a construction kick-off for the new Habitat for Humanity home, which Hathaway hopes to occupy sometime in April or early May. Though much of the home is already built, the kick-off was meant to celebrate the progress on the house, which is being built at 602 Blevins Ave. 
“It’s something I’ve always wanted. It has been a dream of mine for a long time to have my own home,” said Hathaway, who is retired on disability. Before that Hathaway was employed as a machinist and in woodworking. He now lives in a rented apartment in the Milligan College community.
In the coming weeks, volunteers from area churches, businesses and organizations will help put the finishing touches on the two-bedroom house.
Kevin’s house has been designated as a Faith and Community Build and is being sponsored by the Citizens Bank Foundation in memory of Charles “Dude” LaPorte, a local builder. 
“Although the Elizabethton community is small, the hearts of its residents are big,” says Holston Habitat’s Volunteer Manager, Mandy Penz. “And volunteers with big hearts and willing hands are exactly what it takes to build a Habitat home.”
Once construction is complete, Kevin will be the 24th family to purchase an affordable Habitat home in Elizabethton. Qualified Habitat homebuyers like Kevin participate in homebuyer education classes, contribute hundreds of hours of sweat equity, and save for closing costs before receiving the opportunity to purchase their new Habitat homes.
Penz noted that the idea of sweat equity is at the heart of the Habitat philosophy — providing a hand up, not a hand out.
Tim Mallinak, site supervisor for the new Elizabethton build, said ground was broken and footers for the house were poured around the middle of November. “We have made good progress; the weather was favorable in January so we moved very rapidly. This week has been most difficult because of the rain. Serve-Pro had planned to begin this week installing the vinyl siding, but that has been delayed until next week.”
Mallinak said the target date for completing the home is early April. “The dry wall has been finished, and we hope to get some power next week, which will allow us to finish up inside,” he added.
Right now, much of the help for the build has come from regular Habitat for Humanity volunteers, many of whom are from Kingsport and Johnson City. However, local volunteers are invited to participate and be a part of the build.
Kevin, who comes regularly to help with the build, said he was “overwhelmed, excited, and both happy and relieved” to be getting closer to the finishing date for his new home. “I just can’t believe it yet. So many people have donated and so many people have come to work,” he shared.
He said he began the process of becoming a Habitat for Humanity homeowner in the late summer of 2019. “I completed my classes and then COVID-19 hit in 2020, derailing everything. But when things did get back on track, they have moved quickly,” Kevin said.
Since its founding in 1976, Habitat for Humanity has helped more than 29 million people improve their living conditions. As with Kevin’s house, Habitat for Humanity, together with volunteers and partners, help empower people to become homeowners.
Habitat homeowners make a monthly mortgage payment to Habitat and pay closing costs. Homeowners don’t pay interest on the mortgages and the payments are priced affordably.
Habitat was founded in Americus, Ga. by Millard and Linda Fuller, and was a Christian organization from the start.
Locally, Holston Habitat for Humanity serves Sullivan, Washington, and Carter counties, and since its founding in 1985 has built and refurbished homes with over 305 individuals and families.