Osceola Habitat to merge with Wexford Habitat on July 1

OSCEOLA COUNTY — As of July 1, Habitat for Humanity of Osceola County and Wexford Habitat for Humanity will come together as a single entity to serve both counties.

"The reason for merger is the administrative portion of business has gotten to the point where it takes quite a bit of time now in order to complete everything," said Ronald SanCartier, Osceola County Habitat president. "The board felt it would be less expensive to merge with Wexford Habitat and let them do the administrative portion rather than us renting an office and hiring a full-time individual to do it."

Mike Niebauer, executive director for Wexford Habitat For Humanity, is happy to assist Osceola County with its needs and is looking forward to the merger.

"We're excited about it," he said. "We'll really be able to help out Osceola and it'll give their people the ability to focus on building homes and finding families."

The affiliates' titles will remain the same, though Osceola County will operate while "doing business as" Wexford Habitat for Humanity, according to Niebauer. The merger makes sense and will give Wexford Habitat the opportunity to expand its base, he added.

Habitat for Humanity still will have a presence in Osceola County and will have a committee which will be responsible for all of the fundraising for obtaining property to build houses or for the rehabilitation of homes, SanCartier said. The committee, currently with six members, also will be responsible for finding families for the homes. More volunteers are welcome, he added.

"We're still committed to Osceola County," Niebauer added. "We're expanding our board to accommodate members from Osceola County."

Currently, two homes donated by Wells Fargo Bank — in the Lake Miramichi subdivision and a Rose Lake subdivision — are in the works for rehabilitation. Further projects in Osceola County will dependent on available funds.

"We are looking for volunteers to find families for those homes and also are looking for someone to coordinate the rehabilitation of those buildings," SanCartier said. "The person does not have to be a builder, they just have to be able to handle the volunteers and aspects of the building program. The process is pretty much set up."

Once the merger is complete, SanCartier will drop off of the committee and become responsible for the rehabilitation work on the Miramichi and Rose Lake houses, which will begin once the families for both are selected. He has helped construct eight homes in Osceola County.

"I enjoy building the homes," SanCartier added. "That's what I got into Habitat for, but it's gotten to the point where we're spending more time doing administrative work than building. Raising funds is a lot more difficult that it used to be, because times have gotten tough. I'm looking forward to the ability to perform the administrative portion of the organization."