Greenville Habitat for Humanity home taking shape on South Street

By Curtis Wildfong • Last Updated 10:24 am on Monday, November 04, 2013

Kristin Ritter is shown outside the construction site for a Habitat for Humanity build, which will construct a two-story home for her and her two sons. — Daily News/Curtis Wildfong

GREENVILLE — For three years, Kristin Ritter has been looking for the perfect home for her and her two young sons, but for one reason or another it just didn’t happen. That is until Habitat for Humanity stepped in.

Now, Ritter and her sons, Gaige, 8, and Cailix, 4, are awaiting the construction of their new home, a two-story, three-bedroom home on West South Street in Greenville — definitely a step up from their crowded apartment.

“Where we live now, there’s no room for them or a yard to play in,” Ritter said of her sons. But with a new home sitting on a 1,400-square-foot lot, that will be a different story come spring when the house is expected to be finished. “They have a lot of energy, so they need the room.”

Habitat for Humanity broke ground on the home in September with Rep. Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, donating his time and excavating equipment to dig the basement. Outman, whose excavating company Outman Excavating for the second time assisted in a Habitat build, said organizations like Habitat are critically important in economic times like these.

Ritter nails down a wall that will make up part of a stairwell leading to the basement of her new home. Ritter and her two sons are the most recent recipients of a Montcalm County Habitat for Humanity home. Also pictured is Habitat board member and construction crew worker Bill Pierantoni. — Daily News/Curtis Wildfong

“We’ve been so hard hit economically, especially with Electrolux leaving when they did. Then the entire nation’s economy went into recession,” he said. “I think we’ve actually been a little harder hit and taken longer to crawl out of the recession. But with organizations like Habitat for Humanity, they are helping people find affordable homes. It’s such a great organization.”

Montcalm Habitat for Humanity, which has been servicing those in need for the past 23 years, typically constructs one home per year. The organization has plans to build another home on the parcel next to Ritter’s (Habitat split a larger parcel in two) next year.

Both lots are approximately 1,400 square feet and the land was given to Habitat for Humanity. Brian Greene, executive director of the Montcalm Habitat for Humanity, said the houses will not be similar.

“We want the homes to look different and not that manufactured look,” Greene said.

Ritter, who spends her free time lending a hand in the construction, said she still has a hard time believing she soon will be a homeowner.

“It was relief and excitement. I was speechless,” said Ritter about hearing her Habitat application had been accepted. “Up until they started building it, it seemed too good to be true.”

She said her sons still don’t fully understand they will soon have a new home.

Brian Greene, executive director of Montcalm County Habitat for Humanity, said someday they will understand.

“They may not understand it now, but when they’re older I think they’ll appreciate what their mom did,” he said. “It’s hard enough being a single mom, but a mom going out and doing something for her family attests to her character.”

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