Sweat equity integral in Habitat blitz | VailDaily.com

Sweat equity integral in Habitat blitz

Kathy Heicher
Special to the Daily/Kathy HeicherHabitat for Humanity volunteers staged an impromptu Valentine's Day/birthday party for Evie Bopp at the "blitz build" house in Gypsum last week. From left are Haibtat Director Tom Healy, Alex Knuckey, Steve Bopp, Evie Bopp, Habitat President Jean Klein, Shawn Knuckey, and Barbara Duncan and John Roeser of Hermes Construciton Homes. The 'blitz' house was built from start to finish in two months.

GYPSUM – Like most homeowners, when Evie and Steve Bopp move into their new Habitat for Humanity house in Gypsum’s Buckhorn subdivision, they’ll already have a lot invested.While the nonprofit organization is helping out with the construction of the “blitz” project, which will be completed from start to finish on an accelerated two-month schedule, the Bopp’s commitment will go on for some time. Local contractors, led by Hermes Custom Homes, has built the modest home in a very short time period. On Valentine’s Day (also Evie’s birthday), volunteers hosted a little party for the Bopp family at their new home. The walls are painted, the floors carpeted, and only minor work remains before the family can move in. The modest home was completed on schedule, while most Habitat projects, which rely heavily on volunteer work, take a year or more to complete.The Bopps have committed to 200 hours of “sweat equity,” a Habitat requirement. Some of the hours have been spent on their house, and some hours will be donated to other projects.

Habitat will soon start building homes in the Bluffs subdivision in Eagle and even the Bopp’s young grandsons, Shawn and Alex Knuckey (who live with the couple), are expected to contribute sweat equity hours.The Bopps, who currently live in a trailer home in Edwards, qualified for a Habitat home by going through a detailed application process. The family has been living in cramped quarters for years and Evie Bopp is wheelchair bound, legally blind and suffers from multiple sclerosis. The family’s need for a handicap-access home was an element in their selection for the Habitat house.”We’re not extra-special people. We applied for the Habitat house, and other people did, too,” says Evie. Her husband has already been putting in hours helping to prepare the Habitat Outlet Store in Gypsum for opening. He also does some construction clean-up on the blitz house, and brings coffee and snacks to the many volunteer workers on the project.

Because of the volunteer labor, Habitat houses can generally be built for less than comparable homes in the area. The Bopps still make a down payment, then will assume the mortgage, which will be interest-free. They will also pay into an escrow account that covers home insurance.”Habitat is not a hand-out. It is a helping hand,” says Tom Healy, Habitat director for Eagle and Lake counties.Last week, crews textured the drywall. Work is underway on cabinet installation, and completion of the bathroom.”I can’t wait to get in there. It will be home,” says Evie Bopp.==========================================

DedicationThe Bopp’s home at 0012 Cochise Court in Gypsum will be dedicated at 4 p.m., today. The public is invited. ==========================================Vail, Colorado

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