After a three-month construction hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Grand Island Area Habitat for Humanity has resumed its home construction.
Executive Director Dana Jelinek said a house normally would take three months to build, but the construction of House 101 at 2090 Nelson Lane has been delayed due to the pandemic and the 2019 rains and subsequent flooding.
“We are so far behind on this one (House 101) that we cannot calculate it,” she said. “This house was supposed to be done last August or September.”
Jelinek said Habitat’s building committee and its future home buyers resumed some construction work earlier this month, while the first volunteer group resumed work Saturday.
“Last Saturday was the first Saturday that we had any outside volunteers and it was just three individuals; so no real crews,” she said. “Now, we can open it up to having some groups finally.”
On Monday, Cardinal Construction of Doniphan brought a crew of 12 workers to spend the day helping Habitat get caught up on construction of House 101. Cardinal co-owner Chuck Koch said crew members spent all day at the site working to install kitchen cabinets, hang doors and trim windows and doors inside, among other projects.
Outside, he said, his employees worked to pour the driveway, and form and pour the front step of the stoop.
“We try to come and help Dana (Jelinek) every year,” Koch said. “Usually, it is with the Home Builders Blitz, but this year it just didn’t work out. Last year, we missed out on it because we were on a company trip, so we just thought this was just the right thing to do.”
Jelinek said she “cannot begin to tell you” how meaningful Cardinal Construction labor donation is to Habitat.
“I have told their owners that when I think about what they are doing for us and what they have done for us in the past, it makes my heart warm,” she said.
Koch said he and his company get “a little satisfaction” knowing it is helping people and that volunteering to help Habitat with its home construction is just “a tiny way” for them to give back to the community.
Jelinek said COVID-19 not only has put a strain on Habitat’s construction efforts, but also has made it difficult for the organization to get materials and laborers.
“Now, because of other stuff, like people being home and doing home renovations, it has been hard to get some of the materials that I need,” she said. “I also cannot get a carpet layer back until July 12. I need somebody to do dirt work for us and that has been hard to find.”
Jelinek said any individual, organization and/or business interested in volunteering to help with Habitat’s home build may do so by calling the organization’s office at (308) 385-5510 to sign up.