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Making a house a home: EC Habitat starts rehab project

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Lazino Shelton, a member of River City CDC YouthBuild, uses a crowbar, Wednesday, to remove old wooden beams at Elizabeth City Habitat for Humanity's latest renovation project, a house at 108 W. Broad Street in Elizabeth City. Shelton is one of a number of volunteers working on the house renovation that Habitat expects to be completed this summer.

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By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Elizabeth City chapter of Habitat for Humanity is again turning a house into a home.

This week, the local chapter of the global nonprofit started renovating a 1,000-square-foot house on West Broad Street for Sheronda Roundtree, a teacher’s assistant with the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools.

Standing inside the small, gutted house on Wednesday, EC Habitat President Jane Elfring said numerous volunteers — and Roundtree herself — will restore the house over the summer, allowing her and her son to start the next school year in a place all their own.

There’s a lot to work to do before then, she said as volunteers from River City Community Development Corp.’s YouthBuild program were ripping up the floor and tearing down wall beams to resize and relocate the house’s kitchen and other rooms. In addition to complete interior work and replacing the roof, Elfring said Habitat needs to elevate the backside of the house, which has sunken about an inch below the front.

Like other Habitat houses, Elfring said Roundtree’s house will be very affordable. Wells Fargo donated the house following a foreclosure, Elfring said, and Roundtree will have to repay Habitat just for its renovation costs.

Thanks to extensive volunteer labor, donations and other help, Habitat will probably spend between $30,000 and $40,000 on the house, Elfring said. Whatever the final cost, Elfring said Habitat keeps a homeowner’s monthly mortgage payments at less than $600.

Roundtree, who Elfring said is still finishing the school year, couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.

Elfring also said Habitat has selected another family for a brand new house on 5th Street. Construction will start later this year, she said.

Elfring said EC Habitat is looking forward to a busy year, and credited the activity in part to the chapter’s successful store on Hughes Boulevard.

Like other Habitat chapters, EC Habitat offers very low-cost housing to deserving families who show they can afford it and are willing to invest “sweat equity” into their new home. The organization’s mission is to provide families the stability and other socioeconomic benefits that come with home ownership.

Elfring also welcomed volunteers or other help for the organization. People can help in ways other than construction, she said, noting a nearby church was offering volunteers an air-conditioned place to eat lunch Wednesday. Electricity wasn’t available at Roundtree’s house yet, she noted.

EC Habitat is seeking volunteers to help with the rehab of the house on Broad Street. Volunteers of all skill levels are needed. Work hours will vary depending on the weather but will generally be 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Saturday. For more information, call Elfring at 384-0115.

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