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Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle receives $75,000 grant from Procter & Gamble

By Staff | Jan 20, 2017

Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle is operating as the hub in a wheel with many spokes, moving in one direction to help victims of the June 2016 flood in the southern part of West Virginia. Students in Berkeley County, corporate leaders from an incoming company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, members of a nonprofit organization created to help flood victims in Clay County, as well as state officials from West Virginia’s Department of Corrections and Department of Education in Charleston, have come together to focus on families in need of safe housing.

Many residents of multiple counties in West Virginia were hit hard on June 23, 2016 when torrential rainfall brought up to 10 inches of rain during a 12-hour period in what meteorologists from the National Weather Service called a 1,000-year event resulting in 23 deaths and destroying roads, homes and infrastructure.

Clay County residents in West Virginia were some of the hardest hit by this disaster, but help is on the way through a unique program to construct and fund “tiny homes” for some of those displaced families.

Altogether, at least four tiny homes are scheduled to be constructed for families in Clay County.

The first is already being built and three others are scheduled.

The first is being funded through Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle and the organization’s area donors to the “tiny homes” program. Students from James Rumsey Technical Institute in Martinsburg, are building that home.

A contract was signed Dec. 12, 2016, between the school and Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle. Students began working on the home on Jan. 3.

Much of the funding for three more is coming from a $75,000 grant to Habitat for the Eastern Panhandle from Procter & Gamble’s corporate headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The corporation is in the process of bringing a plant and distribution center to Berkeley County, which is scheduled to begin operating this year.

The grant of $75,000 is earmarked for Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle to oversee construction of three more tiny homes, two of which will be constructed by the students at James Rumsey Technical Institute, and one to be constructed by by inmates serving in the West Virginia state corrections division.

Members of the Greater Clay Long-Term Recovery Committee have been working with Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle to identify the families who will qualify for the tiny homes already planned for construction.

“Some of these people lost the only place they had to call home,” said Dr. G. Edward Grove, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle. “We’re in the business of building houses for those in need. There is no greater need than what these people are going through. It has been heartening to see such a cooperative effort by so many people at so many levels. We have the young students at James Rumsey, who have already begun on one tiny home for a family victimized by the flooding. That home is being funded by Habitat and donations we receive from contributors in our office and online. The response has only just begun, and we are very encouraged. We have the Greater Clay Long-Term Recovery Committee identifying families in need who will receive the homes after they are built.”

West Virginia State Sen. John Unger, who also serves as development director for Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle, has been instrumental in working with the flood victim organizations for much of 2016 after the rains hit the area.

He has also been an important link in determining where the Panhandle’s Habitat office could be most useful.

As these various organizations work together to determine the best way to help West Virginia families in need, Unger and Grove remind the public that this program is in its infancy and more opportunities in other locations for those in need are being considered.

To contribute to the Tiny Homes project, interested donors can send a check to Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle at 630 W. Race St., Martinsburg, WV 25401 with a notation that the donation is for the Tiny Homes Project; or they can go online to the Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle website at www.habitatep.org where they can donate to the “Tiny houses for West Virginia flood relief” by following the “Donate” link at the bottom of the home page.