Union County's latest Habitat for Humanity home is well on its way to welcoming a new family.
Michelle Amrine is preparing to move into the house at 1200 London Ave. in Marysville with her son, Ryan, 14, and daughter, Lauryn, 10.
"We are elated. We applied well over a year ago, so it's been a long process," Amrine said. "The kids are excited. I'm excited."
Jim Cesa, former board president of Habitat for Humanity of Union County, said the project is in the homestretch.
Mike's Roofing has donated the labor to complete the roof, with shingles donated by Owens-Corning. Last weekend, the group planned to install the windows; Saturday, Aug. 2, the vinyl siding was scheduled to go on.
"The balance of the work will be done on the inside, including electrical, plumbing, HVAC, cabinets, flooring, insulation, wall board, painting and trim work," Cesa said. "There's just a few more things to do."
Habitat for Humanity home buyers have to meet three requirements.
"They have to have a need, like substandard housing or overcrowding conditions -- too many people living in a house. They have to provide sweat equity and we ask our new applicants (to) work on a previous house so they can get some experience. Thirdly (they) have to have the ability to pay," Cesa said. "There is a mortgage associated with it. They have to have the ability to pay off that mortgage.
"What we charge is for the materials plus the land associated with it. Everything we have donated helps reduce the cost of the home," he said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture holds the mortgage on the home under construction now for $115,000. Habitat for Humanity of Union County will hold a second mortgage on the property, depending on the final appraised value. Cesa expects it will be about $20,000.
"This particular house is being partially funded through the USDA Rural Development loan. They actually participated in this build on June 6. They came in, 22 people strong, 8 a.m. on a Friday, and did all the external walls and internal walls," Cesa said.
Interest in forming a local chapter of Habitat for Humanity started with an informational meeting in 2004. In 2005, the group started meeting to gain affiliation status with Habitat for Humanity International, which it gained in 2007.
Two years later, the group bought property at 117 First St. in Marysville, where it started building a house in 2010 and finished in 2011. That house was appraised for $115,000 and sold for $90,000. Habitat for Humanity of Union County held the second mortgage for the other $25,000.
Habitat's second mortgages are forgiven after 10 years if the buyer still occupies the property.
"The purpose of that is so the homeowner doesn't just turn around and go out and sell the house for $115,000," Cesa said.
Cesa remembers the ribbon cutting on that first home, for Jessica Johnson and her little girl. He remembers the girl's all-pink bedroom and the smile on their faces.
"Her parents and grandparents were there. They helped to build the house as well. And her daughter who was 3, so she is probably 6 now," Cesa said.
Habitat for Humanity of Union County has a third house already in the works. The organization bought land on Collins Avenue and hopes to get started on construction this year.
At the Amrines' house, crews work mostly on weekends. Organizers hope to be done by Labor Day.
Cesa said more than 100 people have volunteered to help build the home.
"There are people waiting in the wings to paint," he said.
Putting in sweat equity is something Amrine said makes the home all the more special.
"Being able to be a part of it, getting in there and hammering and working on it; it means a little bit more," she said. "Every Saturday I'm in there with volunteers."
Future volunteers can go online to unioncountyhabitat.org or follow the group on Facebook.
Amrine recently took her children to the home to check on the progress.
"I showed them where their rooms were going to be. The looks on their faces were just priceless," she said.
The family is now living in a house owned by Amrine's parents, but they plan to sell it. She worked with Habitat for Humanity of Union County before as a volunteer, so she decided to apply to be a homeowner.
Cesa said lending a helping hand to Amrine and others like her is very exciting.
"We can't change the world, but we can change her world," Cesa said.