In the News 2006
Habitat for Humanitybringing people home
The mood is nothing but upbeat.
As a small group gathers in the new home of Tracy and Theresa Shiflett,
located off Valentine Mill Road in the historic Green Springs area,
everyone brings with them a smile.
Owen, Elijah and Whitney, the young couples three small children,
happily run around and play while the adults pause for a serious
But, it is hard to concentrate because everyone is just so excited.
The reasonthe Louisa County chapter of Habitat for Humanity
has triumphed again.
After nine months of construction, the Shifletts moved into their
new house just before the Christmas holiday. For the first time
in their lives, the family has a home to call their own.
It is, said Theresa, a dream come true.
We love this place, she said. We fight over who
has to leave if we need [something] from the store. We just want
to sit here all the time.
Still, though the new dwelling may be paradise, it does not come
without a price.
Like Belinda Johnson and Leslie Clarke, the other two habitat partners
in Louisa, the Shifletts have had to work hard for what theyve
Contrary to popular belief, Habitat homes are not free, said local
chapter director Estelle Rainsford.
[Habitat] is a Christian ecumenical housing ministry,
Rainsford said. We count on donors, volunteers and partner
family mortgages to do what we do. While we sometimes wish we had
more of all of the above, we have a good grassroots base here.
When choosing a partner family, added Beth Ann Boone, Habitat steering
committee chairperson, the organization makes sure that the recipients
qualify and can afford their mortgage.
Most people dont understand what it means to be a partner
family, Boone said. What it means is that you help build
another partners home, build your house and pay for your house.
You have a mortgage just like everyone else. You are not given anything.
The only difference is that there is no mortgage interest for Habitat
families, said Theresa, and volunteers and partners work together
to construct the houses.
Often, she added, friendships are forged through the partnerships.
Although no one is forced to volunteer after they have met the required
number of sweat equity hours, partner families generally
want to help each other out, Theresa said.
With Habitat, you not only get a house, you meet all these
wonderful people, she said. Weve made a lot of
One such pal is Jodi Martin, who will purchase a home through Habitat
after the organization completes its current project for Beulah
Lewis, who is raising her three grandchildrenBJ, Brandon and
In Lewis case, her family must contribute 200 volunteer hours,
50 of which could be provided by the children, towards the Chalklevel
Road home, which will stand on land donated by the Louisa County
BJ, for one, frequented the job site so much that Habitat personnel
stopped counting how much he worked, Rainsford proudly reported.
Rainsford added that it is because of these dedicated partner families,
and the people who unfailingly support them, that the local organization
has flourished in Louisa County.
I love the volunteers, but the families are what keep me going,
Rainsford said. They make all of this happen.
And, by this time next year, she said, there will be four partner
families paying mortgages, which are specifically designated to
fund more houses in the area.
Habitat is not going anywhere, Boone said.
We are here to stay, she said.
For more information about the Louisa County Chapter of Habitat
for Humanity, call (540) 967-0401.