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College students assist Habitat with two-story homes on Whidbey

Students from three colleges will help build homes near Oak Harbor in March for two low-income families.

The new homes will be a bit of a watershed moment for Habitat for Humanity of Island County. The homes are the 29th and 30th built by volunteers under the guidance of the charitable organization.

“We’re really excited. We’re going to be breaking ground on two homes at one time,” said Annee Imle, spokesperson for Habitat for Humanity of Island County.

To mark the start of construction, a groundbreaking ceremony will take place at the building sites in Crosby Commons at the corner of Lofton Loop and Longview Drive. The ceremony begins at 2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 12.

Imle said the students will visit Whidbey Island in March and she hopes their efforts will speed construction of the homes. They will work putting up frames during their visit. A dozen students will make the drive from Seattle University while an additional 11 students from Montana State University Western will participate. Like last year, a group from Minnesota State University in Moorhead will also chip in to help build. The students will start working March 6 and continue through March 26.

The houses will be the largest homes constructed by Habitat volunteers. The two homes will also be the first two-story homes the organization has built on Whidbey Island.

Nick and Caui Asinsin will help build a five-bedroom house that will be home to them and their five children. The second, four-bedroom house will be the home of Kashif Cochran, two children and his mother.

Imle said she hopes the two homes will be finished sometime in June or July.

The Asinsin and Cochran homes are the fourth Habitat houses built in the Crosby Commons. Two other houses are currently being completed and families should be ready to occupy them in about a month. Imle said Habitat had purchased property in Crosby Commons and divided it into four parcels.

Habitat for Humanity of Island County has been working to provide homes for low-income families since 1998. In the summer of 2009, the group marked the completion of the 25th Habitat home. The organization provides financial training, home ownership classes and opportunities to complete the required “sweat equity” hours needed for construction.

Their work is never finished. Imle said the next Habitat project will take place near Freeland.

For details call Imle at 679-9444, or visit www.islandcountyhabitat.org.

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