A groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday for the new Habitat for Humanity build in Conway Township.

The ceremony was held at the site of an empty lot on Julie Court where a new ranch-style, four to five bedroom home will be constructed. A prayer to bless the construction phase marked the event, which is Livingston County Habitat for Humanity’s first groundbreaking ceremony of 2019. The recipient of the home is the Varneys’. Lisa Varney is a single mother currently working to support her four children. Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Robert Johnson says Lisa is always bubbly and smiley, and one of the hardest workers he knows, noting that she has already put in 100 of her required 250 sweat equity hours, which act as a down payment on the home to show the recipient’s commitment.

In addition to the sweat equity hours, beneficiaries must qualify for a mortgage and are put through credit counseling to help raise their credit scores. The recipients also undergo financial and homeownership training, in addition to helping to build the house. The beneficiaries are then sold the home at a qualified mortgage that’s affordable for them, with Habitat for Humanity acting as the lender so they can set the mortgage to what the recipients can afford.

Lisa Varney, who has lived in Livingston County since she was in high school herself, says the process so far has been a great experience and that she and her family are very blessed. She says, "... just the things that I've witnessed while I've been involved in the process...all the help, people are just willing, it's amazing. Our community is so loving."

The Varneys' are feeling the love back - Johnson says they are an amazing family, while Chris Allen, Director of Building Instruction, calls the Varneys a “very deserving family”, adding that Lisa is a hard worker who gives as much as she can.

Builders say the goal is to have the foundation completed within a month and the home fully built by winter. The home will be one of two that Habitat for Humanity plans to build in 2019. (DK)