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Family found for new Norwood home

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NORWOOD — A Potsdam woman and her two sons will be moving into a new home in Norwood next year, as the Raquette Valley Habitat for Humanity has selected the family for the home at 28 Cottage St.

“Everybody wants to be the candidate,” Colleen M. Lewis said. “We were thrilled.”

Ms. Lewis bartends at the Moose Lodge in Potsdam and has lived in an apartment for 10 years with her sons, 14-year-old Bailey J. Frego and 12-year-old Colby A. Frego.

“My youngest has autism,” she said. “We lived in a small apartment so I decided to go for it.”

Habitat bought the property from the village, which took ownership after a house burned down on the property.

Habitat wanted to start building in June but didn’t have enough applicants.

JoAnne M. Fassinger, Canton, vice president of Raquette Valley Habitat for Humanity, said the family it chose had to fit an annual income requirement as well as be able to make monthly mortgage payments.

Ms. Fassinger said Habitat worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program in Canton during the interview process.

“Our guidelines are very similar,” she said. “It’s based on need and it’s based on economics and credit history.”

The USDA interviewed the candidates and checked over the paperwork to make sure the families qualified.

The chapter’s family support and selection committee also met with the candidates, Ms. Fassinger said.

Ms. Fassinger said Habitat has a blueprint of the house. It’s a standard three-bedroom ranch house, for which Ms. Lewis will be able to pick the color of the siding and roofing.

The official groundbreaking of the building was Sept. 14.

“Our goal is to have the house completely enclosed before the weather gets extremely cold so that we can work inside throughout the winter,” Ms. Fassinger said.

It usually takes six to nine months to put up a house.

The family will have to work a minimum of 500 sweat equity hours on building the house, but all of the work will be done by groups of volunteers lending hands and time every weekend. Some of those volunteers are college students.

“Last weekend Clarkson’s women’s basketball team went out and worked on Saturday,” Ms. Fassinger said. “The weekend before it was a combination of SUNY Canton and St. Lawrence students that have campus chapters for Habitat for Humanity.”

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