Helping hands
HBA brings mobile home up to code

COVINGTON - It's been said that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and on Monday, 10 volunteers with the Newton County Home Builders Association decided to live by that philosophy as they gave a special-needs man a chance to stay in his home.

The volunteers worked the majority of the day at a mobile home off Ga. Highway 81 to bring the property into compliance with the county code.

The occupant of the home was turned down by Newton County for renewal of his hardship application this summer because the home did not meet standards, according to Andrea Hammond, executive officer for the HBA.

Since that time, county staff has been working with him to get the property repaired, but he was unable to understand what was needed, Hammond said.

After several months, District 2 Commissioner Earnest Simmons stepped in and asked the HBA if it would donate materials and labor to bring the mobile home up to code.

On Monday, nine members of the HBA Board of Directors, along with HBA member K&B Electricity, added two new staircases to the front and rear of the home, redid a back deck, fixed the underpinning and made electrical repairs.

Hammond said it was a challenge, since many of the HBA members don't have experience with mobile home work, but it was well worth taking on to show how much the group cares about the community.

"We were asked by a county commissioner to see what we could do to help," she said. "The commissioners don't always think very highly of the Home Builder's Association. We were thinking if we do this, the commissioners may reconsider their opinion of the homebuilders. Plus, this man's house really needs help."

The man lives near a home occupied by a family member who is his caretaker. Both wished to remain anonymous.

Simmons said he felt compelled to intervene on the man's behalf, noting that he had presented the required certification from a doctor stating that a hardship permit was necessary.

"There seemed to be no way else to help," he said. "I wanted to see if we could lend an extra hand to get it up to code, and that's what they've been doing."

HBA donated labor, time and money to the project. In addition, Newton Federal and Pinnacle banks also donated money and Susan Clark of Clark Law Firm donated legal services.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.