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High building costs continue to slow down Habitat for Humanity projects

Over the past year and a half, the demand and desire for home improvements has grown, but the cost of materials has increased more than 100 percent.
Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 5:48 PM EDT
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KINGSFORD, Mich. (WLUC) - Over the past year and a half, the demand and desire for home improvements has grown, but the cost of materials has increased more than 100 percent.

Menominee River Habitat for Humanity in Kingsford is struggling to keep up with high demand.

Last year, construction sites across Michigan shut down for nearly three months during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, there’s a backlog of unbuilt homes and incomplete improvements.

“That really put us behind where we needed to be to get our house finished that we finished last year as well as working on the repairs that we do every year,” said Executive Director Nancy Pellegrini.

The Menominee River location was supposed to begin building its 50th house last September. However, construction has been delayed.

“We were at that time allowed to start building and using volunteers however the cost of materials had already started going up. So, by that time the materials costs were up 132 percent from what we were seeing just a few months prior to that,” she said.

Because of the high costs, the 50th family, and two more families, are still waiting on new homes, and Habitat families in need of home repairs are having to postpone because families are responsible for the material cost of repairs with the help of a zero-interest loan.

“We do have to have that honest conversation about is it an absolute necessity right now or is it something that they’d like to wait on. We can do that work now but they’re going to have to repay so much more than if they can wait for material cost to come back down.”

A shortage of volunteers and available contractors is also slowing down the process of moving forward. If you’d like to support the Menominee River Habitat for Humanity, monetary donations as well as new or gently used building supplies are being accepted. Any profits made from the restore are also put back into the program.

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