SOLON- The Athenian poet, politician and lawmaker Solon (who lived in sixth-century B.C.), was one of the earliest reformers of debt, instituting a debt repudiation called Seisachtheia, which means to shake off the burden of debt.
Today, in Solon that tradition continues in the form of a community-built home that includes a donated roof (Metal Monsters), donated labor from friends, family and others in the community, and a zero-percent mortgage from Habitat for Humanity.
Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity will service the mortgage loan to Kurt and Vicki Shover.
A Solon group is raising money for the remainder of the property, furnishings and fixtures, expected to run about $35,000. The Solon group has raised almost half of the amount and is seeking donors and volunteers for the project.
A crew of volunteers meets Thursday through Saturdays (except during Beef Days), finishing the walls and exterior, inside walls and basic construction after the concrete was poured and some knee walls installed.
They’ll hire out local contractors for plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning and then the Shover family can occupy their new home.
Vicki Shover said the house was being “built with love” and its construction meant that many of her prayers were answered.
“It’s coming along so quickly,” she said, adding that she already sees a home going up.
Kurt Shover took ownership of some of their new home because he’s been swinging a hammer and lifting the outside walls into place. He said he’s learned what goes into home-building and it’s given him respect for the process.
Kurt and Vicki must commit to 500 hours of labor as part of the deal, and others in their family are sharing some of their time to contribute and carry some of the load.
The house will have some energy- and water-saving features, including extra insulation inside some walls and in the attic.
Todd Hauser is the Solon group leader and he was proud of the turnout in Solon on a very hot Friday night. He grilled bratwurst and hamburgers during the volunteer crew shift on July 6.
“It’s the community supporting itself,” he said, “by providing assistance for people to live.
“People are willing to come out in the heat. Solon is like that. I couldn’t even get them to come off the deck (first level of the house) to eat,” he said, as he pushed a hamburger into a worker’s hands, “It’s a true sign of the community. Solon’s a good town.”
On Saturday, July 21, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., during Solon Beef Days, the Solon Habitat for Humanity group will hold a bazaar with proceeds going to the Shover house.
Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity builds homes in Cedar, Iowa and Johnson County. They will build another home in Tipton and two in Iowa City still this year.
In Iowa City, one house will be built by an all-female crew and the other is part of an annual University of Iowa Tippie School of Business crew. The Tippie home will be a net-zero carbon emissions house that creates its own energy.
To volunteer in Solon, contact Todd Hauser at 319-631-0881 or stop by the build site on South Dubuque Street in Solon on Fridays between 5-8 p.m.
Find out more about Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity at www.iowavalleyhabitat.org .