- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 1, 2014

FRANKLIN, Ind. (AP) - Volunteers from 14 churches across the county laid the foundation for a family’s new house, tacked on the roof and raised $60,000.

Habitat for Humanity in Johnson County is building its 14th home on Hurricane Street in Franklin.

Each of Habitat’s builds has a theme, with firefighters and police officers volunteering during a hero-themed build and women giving their time during a woman-themed build. This time, all the volunteers came from churches.

Churches are natural partners with Habitat for Humanity, said Mark Slauter, volunteer with Center Grove Church.

The church’s congregation sees a need for affordable homes in the county and gives its time, he said.

“It’s the American dream to own your own home,” Slauter told the Daily Journal (https://bit.ly/1ozkJVw ).

The Elmore family picked up an application for a Habitat for Humanity home a few years after they moved in with Josh Elmore’s mother after a rental home was sold while they were living in it.

Bit by bit, the family of five is seeing their house come together.

First, the Elmores watched as their foundation was laid. Then, Josh and his wife, Leslie Elmore, helped hammer down the flooring and screw in wood that would be their new home’s foundation.

In November, Josh and Leslie Elmore and their three boys will move into their new home. Leslie Elmore is happy her family will have more stability, she said.

One of the goals of Habitat for Humanity is to give independence to struggling families, said LeeAnn Wilbur, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County.

“It’s heartbreaking where you see how some of these families live,” she said.

Land for Habitat homes is nearly always donated. If a home is standing, it is razed, and volunteers and the family receiving the home do the work to build a new home.

Each family that receives a home must pay “sweat equity,” helping nail down the floors and setting the windows in their new home and volunteering in the community, Wilbur said.

“(Habitat) wants our homeowners to give back,” she said. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”

The new homeowners must also take a Dave Ramsey class to teach them about finances and go over the paperwork that details their 20-year mortgage. Families generally pay $350 to $450 monthly for their mortgage and must help other Habitat homeowners with their builds, Wilbur said.

For many families, the home represents freedom.

Single moms receive homes, as do families that don’t yet have the means to save for a down payment.

“The No. 1 thing (in applicants) is to make sure there is a need,” Wilbur said.

The Elmores will get their new home around Thanksgiving, after about 200 church volunteers put the finishing touches on the home.

Volunteers build the home in about 10 days, and then professionals hook up the plumbing and electricity, Wilbur said.

Wilbur is excited that the four-bedroom home has a large backyard where the family’s three boys can play.

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Information from: Daily Journal, https://www.dailyjournal.net


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