bmcdonough@livingstonnews.com

PIFFARD - About 25 volunteers with Habitat for Humanity came out to Piffard to take part in a “Block Day” event and help lay the foundation for what will be a new home for Amanda Dudek and her two young boys.

“I am just really happy to be involved and to know how my house will be put together,” Dudek said at the July 25 event, which marked the start of construction on the house.

Once complete, the house will be a three-bedroom, ranch style home. For Dudek, getting to the point of becoming a homeowner has not been an easy process. She has had to take homeowner classes and said without the help from Habitat for Humanity, none of this would have been possible.

“There is no possible way that we could have done this without the help from Habitat for Humanity,” she said. “It is just a struggle to provide adequately and renting is more costly in several ways.”

Dudek said she is currently living in a house she rents. For her, the thought of becoming a new homeowner not only offers stability but the freedom to do what she wants, when she wants to do it.

“The fact that they get to say ‘This is our house’ and if we want to plant a tree, then we can plant a tree and we can do anything that we want to do,” is great, she said.

The home will be located at 3799 Piffard Circle West in Piffard. Habitat for Humanity members said they were able get the land thanks to a donation from a local resident. They pay the taxes on the property and, once complete, Dudek will take over paying the taxes and the mortgage on the property.

“We give them a hand up, not a hand out,” said David Wallace, president of Habitat for Humanity’s Livingston County chapter. “They have to apply for it, have a certain income and have good credit. We help them get the mortgage.”

Dudek will also have to put in about 200 hours of “sweat equity” on the project, something she says she’s looking forward to.

“They already have a floor plan that they are going to use. It makes the most out of the space,” Dudek said. “There are a lot of the decisions that I do get to make such as the color of the siding, the trim and the cabinets.”

In addition to looking nice, volunteers said the house is also being built with specific energy saving measures in mind.

“It is not just the cost of construction but for her moving forward, we have a house that is well insulated to help her better manage her utility bills,” said John Marks, a Habitat volunteer.

If all goes according to plan, members of Habitat for Humanity said the project could be complete by October. It is something that not only put a smile on Dudek’s face but also to the many volunteers who are helping out.

“I am all for helping someone else out,” said Hunter Englert, another volunteer. “All I want to do is help other people. It makes me feel good to help other people. If someone else is happy, then I am happy.”

For Dudek, the structure will be more than just walls and a roof. It will be a house that her family is hoping to call home for a lifetime.

“This will be more cost effective, to build equity and also to be able to stay in one place and build a future,” she said. “My boys can explore the woods and there is a creek behind the house, without me being worried about everyone around.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1