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Churches: Chatham Habitat is a mission in your backyard

By Brett Essen
Posted Tuesday, December 22, 2009

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Siler City, NC – The Ibarra Rivera family lives in a cramped, run-down apartment far from their place of employment with their three daughters ages six, three and nine months. Their front yard is a gravel parking lot with cars frequently pulling in and out. They dream of owning a home of their own and they are willing to work hard to make this happen.

They dream of a home where their children are safe and have room to grow. They dream of their daughters growing up in a nurturing community where neighbors gather and where children play together outside.

Chatham Habitat for Humanity is seeking churches of various denominations to join together to build a home in partnership with this family in need through its Apostles Build program. Here is how it works: 12 faith groups each round up volunteers for two workdays during the 9 months the home is under construction and they chip in 1/12 the cost of a home sponsorship. Most churches hold a fundraising event or a special offering to cover the cost. Volunteers on site often work side-by-side with the partner family, who contribute 350 hours of sweat equity as a down payment on their home.

Groups find that they get as much out of the project as they put in. “I think the number one benefit for our congregation is spiritual,” said one Apostle. “Working with Habitat helps us create a deeper relationship with God.” So far the following churches have signed up for Apostles Build #10: Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian, Siler City Presbyterian, Siler City United Methodist, Browns Chapel United Methodist, Pittsboro Presbyterian, Mt. Zion Baptist, Lystra Baptist, and Mt. Gilead Baptist.

To learn more or to sign up for Apostles Build #10, contact Bett Wilson Essen at (919) 542-0794, ext. 222 or at Faith groups can sign up at any time for this important “mission in your backyard.”

The Ibarra Rivera home will be located in the Westmont community in Siler City where neighbors often gather for cook-outs and volleyball matches. An active Homeowners Association has added special features to the community such as extra street lights, a bicycle path, monthly neighborhood clean-ups, and more. The family’s home will be certified by Advanced Energy’s SystemVision program, by the HBA/DOC’s Green Builders of the Triangle program, and by the Progress Energy Builder Advantage Rebate program. Monthly heating and cooling costs will be guaranteed not to exceed $35 per month. The family will also take a series of courses designed to prepare them for successful homeownership.

About Chatham Habitat for Humanity: Since 1989, Chatham Habitat for Humanity has worked to change substandard housing conditions throughout Chatham County by making homeownership possible for more than 90 families. In the process, Habitat is able to transform lives, improve neighborhoods, and most importantly, give hope and strength to our communities. For more information visit our web site:

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