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August 26, 2013

New home replaces storm-ravaged structure

CROWN POINT — Tropical Storm Irene battered Helen Sprague’s mobile home in 2011, and the situation looked pretty grim.

Nearby streams flooded her lot on a back road in Crown Point, flowing around her home.

“It sank into the ground several inches,” Sprague said. “When we jacked it back up, the seams started to separate.”

That left her with a mobile home that was literally falling to pieces — and she had nowhere else to live.

‘MY DREAM HOUSE’

A representative of the Federal Emergency Management Agency came by and said Sprague didn’t qualify for federal disaster aid because she could still live in the home.

All seemed hopeless, until James Davis of AuSable Valley Habitat for Humanity asked if she’d be interested in their program.

Now Sprague is watching work by Habitat volunteers progress on a single-story wood-frame bungalow near her old mobile home — but on higher ground — and she hopes to be living there in September.

“Jim (Davis) helped me get my dream house,” Sprague said. “Jim told me they could help me out.”

Habit for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian ministry that builds for people in need.

“That’s why we do this work,” Davis said. “It’s like an old-fashioned barn-raising.”

The Housing Assistance Program of Essex County (HAPEC) is paying for materials and finish work, and Habitat for Humanity volunteers are constructing the house.

“I’ve had so many people come here and volunteer,” Sprague said. “I had people on the roof one day, putting rafters on. My brother, Jim, came down, and they put the windows in.”

FAST WORK

The plumbing and electrical wiring is being installed now, she said, and Sheet-rock screwed in to the walls.

“We’re within a month of finishing. I’m getting volunteers together for painting soon.”

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