FRANKLIN — Lakes Region Habitat for Humanity has begun the building of its first handicap accessible home. When completed, the house, located at the end of Dearborn Street in Franklin,will be home to the Soboslai family.
Recently, Wayne Hackett, the project manager for Habitat, and a group of volunteers from the Sanbornton Congregational Church put down insulation so that the concrete for the foundation can be poured. According to Hackett, "The house will be extremely well insulated and energy efficient, which will make this affordable house even more affordable to operate".
This is the first handicap accessible home built by Lakes Region Habitat for Humanity, and the Soboslai family is extremely grateful. "The overwhelming support from the community to help people they don't even know is very touching and heartwarming — to know there are people out there who want to reach out and help," Kelly Sobasli said.
Every day Kelly Soboslai tackles the issues that come with having muscular dystrophy but, thanks to Lakes Region Habitat for Humanity, things will become just a little easier with a new handicap accessible home.
"Many people and organizations are co-operating to get this house built", according to Jason Hicks, vice president of Lakes Region Habitat for Humanity. John B. Robinson, president of Wood and Clay, is acting as the general contractor on the build. "Not only is he donating his time to this effort, he has gotten many other members of the Lakes Region Builders and Remodelers Association involved.
These include surveyor Carl Johnson, Belknap Landscaping for excavation, Coleman Concrete, Mountain Top Builders, Penco to assist with plumbing, RJD Electric, and Pella for windows. Other vendors making significant contributions include Rowell Sewer & Drain, Casella Waste Systems, and Belletetes Lumber.
John Robinson said that they hope to make it a green building, making it as environmentally friendly as possible. While it may be more costly to build, he hopes that volunteer work will offset much of the cost.
According to Hicks, Lakes Region Habitat for Humanity received a grant of $30,000 from the Federal Loan Bank (FHLB) in Boston. He explained the FHLB has an Affordable Housing Program.
The Lakes Region Habitat for Humanity partnered with Meredith Village Savings Bank, who provided a construction loan for the project. The grant will pay off these costs which helps reduce the total construction costs.
Marilyn Deschenes, president of Lakes Region Habitat for Humanity, said that there are three qualifications for the housing. The first is the need for housing, and the Soboslai family qualified due to Sobasli's muscular dystrophy, as well as their current apartment not being handicap accessible. The second is the ability to pay. Deschenes said that Habitat set them up for success by putting the family through first time homebuyer courses. The third is the willingness to partner, requiring 500 hours of sweat equity. Deschenes said that this started a long time ago, and that work included classes, physical labor and other things done at home.
"One thing we want to make clear is it's not a giveaway program," said Hicks. "It's a no interest mortgage, but it's still a mortgage."
There have been fundraisers held up by both Habitat for Humanity and the Soboslai Family, including the sold out Cupcakes for a Cause which brought in $2,200. The Soboslai Family has also done fundraisers on their own, including a fall and a spring concert that together brought in more than $2,500 at St. James Episcopal Church. Other small fundraisers have also been conducted to help the offset the cost.
"This may seem like a lot of help from these companies and volunteers, but building a house is an expensive task," said Deschenes. "The more donations we receive, the more volunteers that help, the less the family will actually have to pay for the house."
CAPTION — Left to right: Eric Sargent and Dave Soter of Mountain Top Builders, Wally Strauch of Sanbornton Congregational Church, Wayne Hackett of Lakes Region Habitat, and Steve Majeski of Sanbornton Congregational Church. Front is Brendon Morrison of Sanbornton Congregational Church. (Courtesy photo)