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The seven day blitz: Habitat for Humanity builds house in a week

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

BEMIDJI -- A blitz is defined as a "sudden, energetic, and concerted effort, typically on a specific task." Throughout this week a "building blitz" has has been taking place in Bemidji.

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More than 60 volunteers from Habitat for Humanity -- along with 20 contractors from the Headwaters Builders Association -- came together on June 7 to build a house for Tayra Nielson and her family. The blitz is a semi annual event where volunteers build a house in a single week.

Geri Hickerson, the executive director of Northwoods Habitat for Humanity, said the house is being built from scratch. The only thing at the build site when construction was first started was a cement slab.

"They started Saturday morning, and they're doing flooring now," Hickerson said.

In order for an individual to be selected for the house, they must exhibit financial need and be able to repay the mortgage on the home -- which is in a 20-30 year partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Recipients must also put 250 or more hours of sweat equity into their home.

Nielsen, the recipient of the blitz house, had been on a waiting list for a home since 2011. For the past three years, she described the waiting process as being up and down. There were times when she was told she would soon be getting a house, only to be told someone with greater need would be getting it.

Finally, Nielsen was informed she would be receiving a house. As the week progressed she has participated in the build as well.

"It's a lot of hard work," Nielsen said. "You go to bed with your body hurting, but you know your home is totally worth it so you don't even feel it."

Before falling on hard times, she had given her time helping others by volunteering in the community -- now she has came full circle with volunteers coming together to help her.

"You give and you get," Nielsen said.

The finishing touches on the blitz house are expected to be completed by tonight. For more information on Habitat for Humanity and volunteering with their organization visit http://hfh-mn-north.huterra.com/ or call (218)751-4649.

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