Habitat (and hope) for a local family
In New Hampshire, someone earning minimum wage ($5.15 an hour) would need to work 115 hours a week to afford an average two-bedroom apartment. But thanks to a combined effort from Habitat for Humanity, DHMC, and McCarthy Construction the contractor for the Medical Center's current expansion project as well as for its original Lebanon facilitya local low-income family has a new home in Lebanon.
The foundation for this cozy home, a Habitat for Humanity project, was excavated by the construction firm that's handling DHMC's expansion.
"It's the greatest gift I've ever been given," says Terri Poitras, a single mother of two children. Technically, it wasn't a gift. Each Habitat homeowner provides 500 hours of sweat equity and assumes a no-interest mortgage. But payments, which average $550, are much lessup to 50% lowerthan such families paid for their previous, usually substandard, housing.
This particular Habitat project presented a problem, however, since the home's lot sat on solid bedrockwhich made digging the foundation an expensive proposition. So Habitat board member Austin Kovacs approached Grant Guerri, Mc- Carthy's project manager for the DHMC expansion. Guerri replied, "What can we do to help?" He explains that "McCarthy is a family-oriented companywherever we work, we try to assist communities."
Ultimately, $25,880 was raised from DHMC, McCarthy, and 29 local contractors to complete the excavation, the sewer and water lines, and blacktop work. Volunteers erected the home's modular frame, donated by a Connecticut company, in two days. Sherry Calkins, a DHMC employee, organized a lunch for the volunteers. Habitat is "a grass-roots organization," says Kovacs, so its "success depends on the support of local businesses, churches, . . . and on-site volunteers."
Frederick Nothnagel, vice president of facilities for Dartmouth- Hitchcock, is delighted by the "enthusiasm McCarthy has shown for making a positive contribution to the Upper Valley." It's clear, he says, that the construction firm "values community service as much as we do." R.E.M.
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