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Madison County Habitat plans 'Nango project

Habitat For Humanity volunteers do not necessarily need to be the ones lifting the tools. That was the message the leadership board of the Madison County Habitat For Humanity tried to hammer into community members who met last week to learn about the process of bringing a HFH project to the Chittenango area.

"Don't count yourself out if you can't hit a nail without hitting your thumb," said HFH Secretary Judy Parker to interested community members of all ages and skill levels at the Sullivan Free Library.

Parkers said people are needed not only to build the house, but also do many other things, including volunteer services, which consists of correspondence thanking volunteers and providing food to the volunteers.

Along with volunteer services, all other service areas involved in bringing a project to the area were discussed, including building, but also family selection, fund-raising and accounting.

One of the first and most challenging steps is getting the land to build on and selecting a family to build for, two steps that go hand-in-hand, according to George Belton, building and site selection committee chairman.

"[The lot] needs to be convenient for the family that has been selected," he said. "What you build is predicated by the family."

The site needs to be in the same school district, close to where the family works and the right size for the family, like having the correct number of bedrooms, he said.

He said while the families selected are low-income, they are not poverty-stricken; they have to be able to pay a mortgage. Families selected for the project also are involved in the building process, contributing a required 500 hours worth of "sweat equity" to the project, according to Peter Cann, president of the Madison County HFH.

Along with site and family section, another initial step is advertising and fund-raising. To start the process, the community should draft a fund-raising letter that appeals to the community for donations and organizing fund-raising projects. To break ground, the project will require approximately $10,000 to $15,000, and, in the end, a $65,000 total out-of-pocket cost.

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