Saturday, March 1, 2003

College, churches labor together

By Tom O'Neill
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A unique collaborative of the College of Mount St. Joseph and 12 west-side churches will unveil Sunday their fruits of hard labor: side-by-side Habitat for Humanity homes.

The two one-story houses in South Fairmount will be home to a single mother and her two sons, and an elderly woman who uses a wheelchair.

The dedications are 2 p.m. Sunday at 2452 and 2456 White Ave., just south of Harrison Avenue.

"Getting a Habitat house means everything to me," said Michelle Miller, who contributed 500 hours in "sweat equity" for her new home.

"My kids will have a yard of their own to play in and will know that they will always have a place to call home," she said. "But it's also the pride of ownership and being able to say that I helped build this with my own two hands."

The other home will go to Phyllis Cole and her two grandchildren, whom she supports.

Limited in how much she could do physically during construction, Cole, with a group of friends, earned her 500 hours of sweat equity in other ways.

More than 500 volunteers participated, the first time a college and church organization have combined this way on a single project.

The Westside Federation of Churches (Westfed), which draws from churches throughout Westwood and Western Hills, provided the know-how, having now built 10 Habitat houses.

The college provided the labor of 250 people from among its faculty, staff, alumni and students.

Construction began in August.

"It's not only a commitment of what we can do for Michelle and her family, but what this project can do for the Mount community," said Tim Lynch, a history professor at Mount St. Joseph and a site coordinator on the Habitat project.

"The idea is that faculty, staff, administration and alumni could work together to provide a deserving family with a decent home fits right into the Mount's mission."

Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity Inc. (CHFH) is a private, not-for-profit Christian housing ministry.


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