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Local Habitat Build It Again Store supports low income housing

Demolition is underway at the Student Union on the Ohio State University campus. Materials salvaged from the building will help support permanent housing to low income families. Volunteers from Habitat for Humanity are helping remove usable items for resale at Habitat's Build it Again Center on Westerville Road.

On any given day, one-hundred fifty people come through the Build It Again Center. Henry Hope is one of them.

He says furnished two rentals units using materials from the store.

In addition to the cleaning supplies favored by Hope on this day, the Center carries a variety of building materials.

Windows and doors go for fifteen to twenty dollars.

Paint for two bucks a gallon.

Kevin Blackledge runs center which he says brings in between seven and eight hundred thousand dollars a year.

Blacklege says Habitat's new home construction program uses only new materials, used goods are sold to the public.

Gwendolyn Watson is another regular Build it Again customer.

She uses the materials she finds at the store to upgrade her Gahanna home. She says she has purchased carpet and floor tiles and spent very little money.

Blackledge, a small staff and a group of volunteers often go beyond the call of duty.

While the center operates on a first come first served basis, staff members will try to hold on to an item they know a customer wants.

And in the case of Joan, who preferred not to give her last name, the Build it Again Center came to the rescue when she urgently needed a door. Hers had been stolen by vandals.

On this day, Joan was back at the Center after an acquaintance promised to pick up and deliver roofing shingles for her.

He picked them up, but never delivered the shingles to Joan who was out one-hundred-thirty dollars. Kevin Blackledge refunded the money.

It's just that kind of thing that keeps retiree Dwight Moody volunteering at the Rebuild it Center two or three days a week.

About two years into retirement, Moody was becoming bored and depressed. Now, he says, he's having a ball.

Moody calls what he does "deconstruction". He and other staff members go into a building or home and carefully remove materials like kitchen cabinets and countertops for resale.

In addition, Director Kevin Blackledge says department and home improvement stores and corporations donat to the center.

Westerville contractor Dennis O'Quinn uses the Build it Again Center both to recycle building materials he does not need and buy supplies he does not have. He does a lot of work on older homes and says new parts can be difficult to find.

A former Vista volunteer, Kevin Blackledge is proud of the Center's accomplishments. In addition to bringing low cost building materials to people who need them, profits made by the center help to keep Habitat's home construction program afloat.

The Build it Again Center is located at 3140 Westerville Road. It's open Monday through Friday 10 to 6 and Saturday 10 to 4. Marilyn Smith, WOSU News.