KEESEVILLE - A house built with the sweat of community volunteers and the support of local businesses has now become a home for a family in need.
Champlain Valley Habitat for Humanity held a special dedication ceremony July 8, marking the end of a two-and-a-half-year project to construct a house on Hill Street.
Single mother Candace Mallernee will move into the nearly 1,200-square-foot home with her two children. The three had temporarily been living with Mallernee's parents in nearby Peru.
"It's huge," said Mallernee. "Just knowing that we have a healthy, safe place to live is such a big weight off my shoulders."
Mallernee's friends and neighbors joined Habitat for Humanity volunteers in welcoming her family to the finished home with a prayer of dedication led by Keeseville United Methodist Church pastor Edie Poland. Mallernee shed tears of joy as CVHFH board members presented her with a Bible and members of the Keeseville Quilters Guild donated quilts they had made for her and her children.
The house is the sixth completed by CVHFH in its 11 years as the Clinton County affiliate for Habitat for Humanity International.
According to CVHFH president Harriet Burrell, about 40 to 50 people contributed their in-kind and volunteer services to building the house, the materials for which were purchased largely with donations from local businesses.
The site for the home in Keeseville was offered to CVHFH at a "greatly reduced price" by the former owner, Helen Eagle, said Burrell.
Families may be eligible for a Habitat house provided they currently live in substandard housing and meet certain income guidelines. They must also be willing to contribute their own labor to the project and able to take on the mortgage for the home.
"It's a zero-interest mortgage," said Burrell, "and the monetary amount can be a lot lower than a conventional mortgage because of all the volunteer labor that's done."
In an unusual turn of events, the original family selected for the home in Keeseville could no longer commit to moving in, said Burrell.
"Their situation changed where they weren't able to take the home," said Burrell, noting how the unusually long timetable for the project proved difficult for them.
Mallernee heard about the opening and applied for the house in March. Because the house was near completion, she will have to contribute her own "sweat equity" by doing landscaping work on the property and helping construct the next CVHFH home already under construction in Rouses Point.
"I'm very grateful to Habitat for the opportunity to have a house," she said.
Champlain Valley Habitat for Humanity will hold their next major fundraiser with a golf tournament Wednesday, Aug. 4, at the North Country Golf Club in Rouses Point. To sign up to play or sponsor a hole, call 297-2582.