Marcellus churches unite for Habitat

The house may have been built already, but the fundraising continues for Syracuse Habitat for Humanity on Saturday Oct. 18 in Marcellus.

The Interfaith Group, comprised of five Marcellus-area churches, will be having a chicken barbecue and pie auction at the Marcellus United Methodist Church on Slocombe Avenue to close out the fundraising for this year's house. The new home has been built in Syracuse's Near West Side, one of the most poverty stricken areas in the region, said Bob Shields. The home at 215 Gray Street has been built for Faith Gilliam and her children.

"The house was built on faith. We have not met our (monetary) commitment yet but the house has been built," said Eric Cheney, who is at the helm of the group along with Shields and Mike Streissguth.

According to Cheney, the interfaith build brings together the faith community to raise money and provide the labor for construction.

"It is a region wide effort. What we've done is we've gone out to different areas all over the Syracuse area and engaged people to participate," Cheney said.

According to Shields, people who contribute also like to go down and work on the houses to get the feeling of the hands on experience.

"When you get done at the end of the day you can look back and say, 'Wow I did something'," he said.

The average cost of building a Habitat house is more than $60,000 and requires a minimum of 13 weeks of volunteer labor. While it takes approximately 10 workers a day, the future homeowner is also required to supply 300 hours of labor and a $500 down payment on the house.

"This isn't charity in the sense that we're giving this house away. You have to be working and making enough money to pay the mortgage," Shields said, adding that Syracuse Habitat holds the mortgage on the home until it is paid off.

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