Habitat for Humanity Homes in Hurricane's Path Tough as Nails


Although thousands of homes in South Florida were obliterated or damaged beyond repair by Hurricane Andrew, 27 units built in Dade County by the volunteer group Habitat for Humanity withstood the brunt of the storm.

"All the homes are inhabitable and safe," said Kevin McPeak, administrative coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami. McPeak said he toured the homes and found windows broken and water damage, but no structural damage.

Habitat for Humanity, whose international headquarters is in Americus, Ga., is a nonprofit organization that invites volunteers to build low-cost homes for the needy. The homes sell for about $35,000 with no interest.

In Dade County, the Habitat for Humanity homes are in the hard-hit areas of West Perrine and Homestead, as well as in the city of South Miami and in Liberty City. A 1991 Jimmy Carter Habitat for Humanity project constructed some of the homes.

"We make a commitment to these families to provide a simple, decent home," McPeak said Tuesday. "We do not cut corners. We don't build to meet the minimum requirements of code. We build what we feel is a good house. It exceeds code.

"As an example, you can staple roofing material to the roof to meet code. We will not do that. That's not our approach. It doesn't make sense. If you want the shingles to stay on, put a nail in them."

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