Last week 101 Fifth Street in Frederica was a grassless plot of land with a cinder block foundation resting in the center. By 12 p.m. Saturday afternoon the lot was filled with community members and four freshly erected walls that had been built by Habitat for Humanity volunteers from across the area.
In a matter of months those four walls will belong to Mike and Renay Walls and their four children Anthony, Codi, Mikey, and Logan. For Renay the center of the project is family.
"Having a home is important because it's security and stability," Renay said. "It's about knowing that you have a place where your kids can grow up, where they can come back to."
For the past five years the Walls have called Frederica home, but only by way of rental property. However according to Renay rent is high and she wanted to give her children a sense of stability. Last March Renay attended a Habitat for Humanity seminar and after some prodding from her sister in law, who also owns a Habitat house, Renay applied to have a house of her own built. Once their house is finished the Walls will enter into a 25 year mortgage at a 0% interest rate, with Habitat for Humanity as the lender. Mortgage payments from Habitat homeowners like the Walls will be used to fund future Habitat houses. Habitat homeowners pay only for the land and the cost of building the house, Habitat for Humanity sees no profit. The average cost of a Habitat house is $105,000.
According to Cody Daugherty-Hayes, a Del-Tech student and volunteer with Habitat, the Walls will own a piece of Frederica by June.
"It usually takes around three months to build a house from new ground up." Daugherty-Hayes said. "It takes 14 Saturdays with 20 volunteers working eight hours a day."
Some of those man hours that it will take to build the two story, five bedroom, 1,500 square foot house will be worked by Renay and Mike themselves, each of them will have 250 hours into the project through physical labor on the house, attending financial advising sessions, and serving in the community. According to Renay their hard work makes the reward that much sweeter.
"When you're putting your blood, sweat and tears into something you get a huge sense of appreciation," she said. "I think it's the most exciting and rewarding things to do."
Their house is the fifth or ten houses that Habitat for Humanity plans to build in the Frederica area as part of their Neighborhood Revitalization project.
The lot right next door to the Walls house has already been cleared to make way for two more Habitat houses, ground has also been broken for another two homes on Fourth Street and a third site on the corner of Purnell and Thomas is being finalized. Habitat for Humanity is slated to have completed the remaining projects by the end of 2014.
Page 2 of 2 - However one thing that makes this house unique is the fact that it is the first Apostles build that Central Delaware has done in its 20 year history. Twelve churches have come together to offer monetary support, as well as physical labor in order to build the Walls house. The 12 participating churches are Calvary Assembly of God, Christ Episcopal Church – Dover, Felton Viola United Methodist Church, First Southern Baptist Church, Freedom Baptist Church, Grace Church, Holy Cross Catholic Church, Hope United Methodist Church, Peoples Church of Dover, Presbyterian Church of Dover, Wesley United Methodist Church and Wyoming United Methodist Church.
According to Jocelyn McBride, executive Director of the Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity, churches are natural partners for Habitat, as the non-profit group is a Christian organization itself.
"It's an unbelievably great feeling to see all the support, love and care that people have put into this," Renay said.
At the moment the house may just be cinder blocks and framing but in Renay's head it's already becoming home.
"The first thing I'm going to do when the house is finished is line my kids up to one of the beams and mark how tall they are, so I can watch them grow," Renay said.