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Five-Day Building Blitz To Give Five Families Homes

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DURHAM, N.C. — Call it a construction marathon in Durham: building five houses in five days. And Hatim Elzubair can't wait to reach the finish line.

"It's like a dream," Elzubair said. "A house in five days? No one can believe that."

  • On The Web:

    Habitat for Humanity of Durham

  • On The Web:

    Home Builders Blitz 2006

    One of the five will soon be the Elzubair family's first home, made possible through

    Habitat for Humanity of Durham


    "(For the) first time in my life, I (can) clean my own home," Elzubair said.

    Cleaning is part of the 250 hours of "sweat equity" he is putting in, instead of a down payment on the house. Habitat homes are usually built by homeowners and volunteers.

    For this week's building blitz, professional builders are donating their materials, expertise and time. And it's happening across the Triangle area -- not just in Durham.

    The "Home Builders Blitz" is a national partnership between Habitat for Humanity and the Home Builders Association. Twenty more Habitat houses will be built in Wake County by Friday, and eight will be build in Orange and Chatham counties.

    "The framing crew comes in, gets that done -- they leave. (The) next crew comes in, they get their part done and leave," said Maria Keeler, a representative of Habitat for Humanity of Durham. "It's amazing, it's almost like warp speed."

    Habitat volunteers will work to demolish rundown houses and replace them with new homes for hardworking families. But volunteers say they are also building a community.

    Last year's building blitz resulted in seven new houses in Durham's West End neighborhood. Since then, police reports show, crime has dropped about 20 percent in the neighborhood.

    "The people live in the community. They have a sense of responsibility and empowerment," Keeler said.

    Elzubair, who is originally from Sudan, said he now has a true sense of home.

    "I love Durham. I love North Carolina, and the U.S. is my country, now," he said.


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