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A new home in just weeks

Thu., June 11, 2009, midnight

Habitat for Humanity blitz builds for families

It was hot at the end of Mt. Baldy Lane last week. It was so hot that the trampled dirt around Mikalai Belavus’ construction site had turned into a powder as fine as flour, blowing here and there with every little wind gust. Yet the heat didn’t deter Belavus or the dozens of volunteers who were hammering away at his Habitat for Humanity house.

“Every day I come out there is something new done on the house,” said Belavus, on June 3. “On Monday, it was just the foundation – and now look at this. I worked on the roof yesterday.”

Belavus’ house is one of three Habitat for Humanity homes being finished during this month’s Blitz Build.

Habitat has been doing Blitz Builds – finishing a small number of homes in a short period of time – every June since 2002.

“Though Habitat for Humanity builds year-round, the Blitz Build is a tangible celebration of our community coming together to build community,” said Michone Preston, executive director for Habitat for Humanity-Spokane.

The houses at Mt. Baldy Lane are number 194, 195 and 196 built by Habitat for Humanity-Spokane.

“It’s always pretty amazing to be here at a Blitz Build,” said Preston, over the smack of a nail gun. “I mean, people are usually in a really good mood and the houses come together so fast. It’s really impressive.”

This year’s Blitz Build concludes Friday.

Volunteer groups from JC Penney and Wal-Mart were on site last week.

“Some people actually take a week of vacation to volunteer with us,” said Preston.

For sweat equity, Belavus has hauled gravel for the foundation of the house, worked on the roof and put in radiant heating in some of the floors. He’s also cleaned up the construction site around the house.

“I really appreciate everyone who works here,” Belavus said. “They work so fast, but that does not influence the quality of the work. It’s still very, very good.”

Belavus and his family are very much looking forward to moving into the home. They came to Spokane from Belarus in December of 2005, and this is the first house they will own. Belavus explained that the family belonged to the Pentecostal Church in a small town in his home country.

“We were persecuted because we were different,” said Belavus, who’s now a student at Spokane Community College.

Belavus said his mother, father and brother already lived in Spokane, so picking a new hometown in the United States was not difficult.

“No, it does not look like Belarus at all,” he said, laughing, gesturing at nearby Beacon Hill. “But I like it here, I have no plans to go back. We want to stay in Spokane.”

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