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Habitat kicks off house rehabilitation project in McHenry

Published: Sunday, March 30, 2014 7:20 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, March 31, 2014 4:35 p.m. CDT
(Joe Shuman for Shaw Media)
Ethel Adrahtas of Crystal Lake thanks well-wishers Sunday during the dedication of her family's future home with her granddaughter, Valerie Latala, 16, of Crystal Lake and Jerry Monica, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County. The local Habitat chapter will help the Adrahtas-Latala family rehabilitate the home on Lakewood Avenue in McHenry's Lakeland Park neighborhood.

McHENRY – Within McHenry’s Lakeland Park neighborhood, a house will soon become a home. Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County hosted a house kickoff on Sunday for the Adrahtas-Latala family.

The kickoff marks the start of rehabilitation on their soon-to-be residence at 1912 Lakewood Ave.

HFHMC is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit organization giving families the opportunity to build a new life for themselves through the process of owning their own home.

The homes are sold to families who qualify, with zero interest loans. The home recipients are required to put in sweat equity and make monthly mortgage payments.

“Our goal is to set up families to succeed,” said Kathy Haupt, HFHMC’s family services coordinator. “This family is so focused and their determination is great.”

Haupt said the organization offers other services after the family moves in, including financial literacy training, house maintenance assistance and counseling services, to ensure they are able to sustain their stability and security in owning their home.

Volunteers and supporters for the Lakeland Park project gathered in the home, currently no more than a frame, walls and concrete floors, to bless the start of construction.

On-site for the kickoff was Bill Lloyd, a market executive from Bank of America, the company responsible for the property donations of many Habitat for Humanity homes.

“It’s a great way for our brand to become more human, make commitments to the community and have a positive impact,” said Lloyd.

Lloyd is one of the many volunteers who have participated in the demolition and rehabilitation of the 1,400-square-foot home. The project marks HFHMC’s 26th home to date.

The home will include three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large living area and a basement.

Jerry Monica, executive director for HFHMC, said the biggest challenge facing the organization on these projects is oddly enough finding families for these homes. Monica said he’s not sure if people are still leery of the housing market, but he likes to find a way to say “yes” to people who have, more often than not, heard “no” when it comes to home loans.

Monica was able to say yes to the Adrahtas-Latala family, who are eager to leave their 950-square-foot apartment in Crystal Lake. The future homeowners include Ethel Adrahtas, her daughter, Lisa Latala, and her 16-year-old granddaughter, Valerie Latala.

Adrahtas said they chose Habitat for Humanity because they wanted to be a part of the process and work for their home.

“I never realized how many good people there are in this world that want to help,” she said. “We would not have a home without them.”

Lisa Latala said she looks forward to the freedom she will be able to give Valerie, who has autism. Latala is anticipating giving her daughter her own room, and there are plans to build a sensory swing in the basement for Valerie’s benefit.

Later that afternoon on Home Avenue, just two blocks from the Adrahtas-Latala’s location, a completed house was dedicated to the Kelly Lockman family.

The family was given keys and welcomed into their new house, which began its construction in December 2013.

For information on Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County, visit www.habitatmchenry.org.

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