By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
The third Maroon Edition Habitat for Humanity house will be dedicated to a deserving family on today at 4 p.m.
Construction on the house, located at 70 Murdock Lane, began on Aug. 8. The house was built largely by Mississippi State University students, faculty and staff. This year, the house was built for a member of the MSU family — Kimberly Riley, who works in the library, and her three children.
“We average about 700 students on each of these houses,” Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Freddie Rasberry said. “The Maroon Edition houses allows us to engage the students. They really adopt these houses as their own and are impacted by the experience.”
With the help of the volunteers, the project was completed on time and the new owners have already moved in. The Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity has built 47 houses in the community, but Rasberry said that this year’s house is one of the nicest they’ve ever built. The Riley family will have several Habitat families in the neighborhood, with two more houses scheduled to be built next spring across the street and next door.
Habitat for Humanity goes through an extensive application and interview process when choosing families. The adults in the family must have a steady job, must be willing to put in 300 volunteer hours and be able to handle a small monthly payment. The families are generally those that have a credit score that would not allow them to be approved for a home loan at a bank, so Habitat for Humanity acts as mortgage company and construction company in one.
Cadence Bank, First United Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church, MSU, and Phillips Financial Advisory, along with other organizations and churches help fund the projects every year. All of the money donated to Habitat for Humanity goes toward building the house. Each house costs around $60,000, and the organization builds three houses a year — two houses in March and one Maroon Edition house.
The families repay the cost of the home at no interest and no profit to the organization.
MSU students have been a major contributor to the projects from the beginning. Rasberry said he has seen the students learn and grow from the experience, even after just a few hours on the construction site.
“That’s one of the exciting things about working with the student volunteers — we’ve gotten feedback from their teachers and other people that work with them after they’ve worked with us and they get a certain amount of confidence,” he said. “They have these little success stories on the site and then they go into their classes — calculus or zoology — and they don’t say ‘I can’t do that,’ anymore.”
The dedication ceremony is open to the public and any volunteers who helped with the build are encouraged to attend. MSU President Mark Keenum will be a part of the ceremony and present a Bible to the family.