'Habitat' helps build home for Millville family

June 24, 2008 4:05:41 PM PDT
Every Habitat for Humanity home is destined for a family in need. But in Millville, New Jersey today they were working on a custom house for a family with special requirements. Volunteers from the Cumberland County Habitat for Humanity are busy building a new home on Garfield Street. Among those hard at work on the 1400-square foot dwelling is Michelle Ramirez. This after all will be her home... one that she will share with her boyfriend Greg Groover and five children - two of them with disabilities.

Michelle Ramirez tells Action News, "It'll be one-story. The bathroom will be handicap accessible. There'll be rails in the bathroom and rails to help them walk around the house."

5-year-old twins Michael and Greg Junior suffer from cerebral palsy. Today, along with their sister Tiffany, they watched the progress on their new 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom home.

Groover says, "It's been difficult because we gotta carry them up the steps to the bathroom because it's a two-story. The difference is we'll have one rancher and it'll be all one level... It's been a miracle. God has been blessing us."

Under the Habitat for Humanity rules Groover and Ramirez must invest 250 hours of sweat equity in the construction of this house or other Habitat projects - something they say they'll do gladly. The house is costing about $60,000 and the couple will carry a 20-year interest free loan.

"This is our third house here on Garfield Street. We're trying to make a community of Habitat for Humanity homeowners that can sort of live amongst each other, help each other out," explains Victoria Groetsch of Cumberland County Habitat for Humanity.

While most of the volunteers on these projects are local, this week they're joined by a group of teenagers from Vermont.

Mercedes Mehling, one of the teen volunteers, tells us, "I think if we were just building a house it would be different, but we see who's going to live here so it's really cool."

The exterior of the house will be finished on Friday and then it's on to the interior work. Greg and Michelle and the family should be moving in about 4 months.