While COVID-19 has halted progress on many events and projects this year, it has not slowed down Habitat for Humanity of Ogle County on its 2020 home build in Rochelle.
Habitat for Humanity began building its 13th home and second for a family in Rochelle on June 13, 2020 for Felix and Tanya Vega and their five children. Since the first shovel was dug into the ground in June, construction has been moving forward at the build site at an average of three to four days a week.
While most of the work is done by construction crews and volunteers, the Vega family was required to put in a minimum of 200 sweat hours working at the site. The Vega family has well surpassed their hours and are continuing to work as the home begins to take shape.
“The home build is coming along really well,” Habitat for Humanity of Ogle County executive director Vanessa White-Broome said. “We are at the point where we have the frame and roof completely finished. We have gained quite a bit of progress and are a lot farther than we sometimes are at this stage.”
The next steps are to start putting up the siding, windows and insulation, then begin the inside work such as cabinets and electrical wiring. While the goal was to have the home finished by Christmas, Habitat is hoping to have the home completed and the Vega family in it by early next year.
Once the home is completed, it will be 1,200 square feet and include four bedrooms and two bathrooms as well as a finished basement. While both Habitat and the Vega family have been working very hard building the home, they could not have done it without the many supporters and volunteers that have stepped up.
“We have had a lot of supporters that have continued to rally around this project,” White-Broome said. “Between Northern Excavation and Construction, Anderson Plumbing and Custom Concrete. These are people that have helped with prior builds and have stepped up once again. We wouldn’t be able to do it without their help and all of the volunteers that have come forward.”
While some people have the common misconception that these homes are just given to the families, Habitat would like to clarify and emphasize that the families are hardworking individuals and will pay a mortgage the same as everybody else. Habitat is also reminding everyone that they are always looking for volunteers for home builds and other projects, no matter the amount of time someone can set aside.
Habitat has also been affected financially by COVID-19. With the cancellation of many of its fundraisers and events, it is asking the community for donations. Any amount, big or small, is very helpful and appreciated.
“There have been some challenges such as us not being able to have our fundraiser and the cost of material going up,” White-Broome said. “Because our budget has been affected, we could really use some donations from the community. Any amount is appreciated and goes directly into the cost of the home.”
Anybody that would like to volunteer or donate can do so by contacting White-Broome at 815-440-6598 or by sending donations to P.O. Box 628, Oregon IL, payable to Habitat for Humanity of Ogle County. While Habitat is working hard at the home build it is already planning future projects including a ramp build in Rochelle and a yard cleanup in Mt. Morris for a Korean War Veteran.