Labor of Love: Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity builds in Hamilton

By: 
Jason Wesseldyk, Sports Editor

When screening potential candidates to be part of its home-build project, Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity looks for individuals and families who are willing to be active participants in the process.

“We really believe in the value of giving someone a hand up rather than a hand out,” Lakeshore development director Dave Rozman said. “We work with people who have housing needs and are willing to contribute to rectifying that situation.”

Rozman said his organization found such a partner in Hamilton resident Julie Cadman.

Cadman, a single mother of four children, took part in a Wall Raising Celebration on Monday, June 22, as the building of her family’s new home officially got underway.

Cadman said the importance of helping others is one of the values she’s worked hard to instill in her children and is grateful that Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity is offering that kind of help to her family.

“Having the stability of a home will allow me to do so much more giving back again and will help in teaching my kids that doing things for other people is a blessing in itself,” Cadman said.

The Cadmans’ involvement with Lakeshore started with an application process.

“In the application process, individuals tell us about their current employment situation, areas of need and why they can’t afford housing,” Rozman said. “We have a committee that reviews the applications and then meets with the applicants in person and gets to know them a little better.”

The Cadmans’ home will be the 153rd home build by Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. It is the first home in Hamilton since 2014.

“We’ve done a lot of work in the Holland and Zeeland areas, so we have a pretty good network in those places,” Rozman said. “So, our network isn’t quite as strong in Hamilton because we haven’t been there in a few years, but we know it’s a great community with a lot of people who are willing to help.”

Like others who work with Lakeshore, Cadman is required to put in 250 hours of “sweat equity.”

“Julie’s a really hard worker and she really sets a great example for her kids,” Rozman said. “We love to work with people like her.”

Construction on the Cadman’s home was originally scheduled to commence a few months ago, but COVID-19 changed those plans.

“The week the stay-at-home order went into effect, we were scheduled be meet with several business, community and church leaders in Hamilton about helping out with this project,” Rozman said. “But everything got pushed back and caused some delays.”

A gift from the Edna Haworth Trust has played a significant role in this home becoming a reality for the Cadman family.

“The Haworth family is pleased that the gift from Eddie Haworth’s estate will be used to support the building of this new Habitat home in Hamilton,” Dick Haworth said. “We wish the family that will occupy this home a lifetime of hope, happiness and pleasant memories.”

An additional $50,000 is still needed to complete the project.

“With the delays due to COVID, we’re a little behind where we’d like but be,” Rozman said. “But we’re confident that volunteers and those willing to donate will step forward like they always do.”

To learn more about volunteering at or donating to Lakeshore Habitat, please visit www.lakeshorehabitat.org.

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