Dennis Judy, construction manager for Habitat for Humanity of Kosciusko County, hands over the keys to the house to Rob and Jamie Nichter at Sunday’s dedication ceremony.
Dennis Judy, construction manager for Habitat for Humanity of Kosciusko County, hands over the keys to the house to Rob and Jamie Nichter at Sunday’s dedication ceremony.
Habitat for Humanity dedicated another home for a Kosciusko County family on Sunday.

Robert and Jamie Nichter are the proud owners of the home at 203 E. Leedy St., Warsaw.

The couple had been living in a mobile home with their three kids – Austin, Tiphanie and Alliee – for the past nine years. Their mobile home was old and deteriorating beyond repair. Their day-to-day living had also become physically dangerous as they had several burglaries. The Nichters needed a safe home in which they could feel secure, and thanks to Habitat for Humanity that has now happened, according to information from the dedication’s program.

Robert has worked at Lowe’s for the past five years. While delivering roofing for a Habitat home, Robert met David Kaufman, the local Habitat’s construction supervisor. Kaufman introduced Robert to Habitat. The Nichters had reservations about applying for a home, but eventually took the step and applied over two years ago.

Besides the COVID-19 pandemic, the process didn’t come without some challenges.

Mickey Kaufman, Habitat executive director, said it had the least number of corporate donors: First Source Bank, Lake City Bank, Old National Trust and Lowe’s. Others financially supporting the home build included Leesburg Grace Church, Quilt Auction 2020 and individuals.

Groundbreaking on the Nichters’ home was in early fall 2019. At Sunday’s dedication, Mickey said the Nichter family was present, along with other family members, Habitat representatives and more.

Dennis Judy, construction manager for Habitat, said the home on Leedy Street is 26 feet by 52 feet. It has four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a great room that includes a living room, dining room, kitchen and utility room.

“We don’t build custom homes,” said Mickey. “Also, it’s not big, but it’s adequate for the size of the family they have, according to HUD regulations. We go by HUD.”

Judy said the home is on a nice-sized lot, 100 by 200 feet.

He said he had six regular volunteers that were there “pretty much weekly.” There also was a group of 10 to 12 from Warsaw Community Church; two Grace College classes of 25 to 30 students each; a group of 10 to 12 from TCU; the Nichters’ church had two different groups there volunteering; a painting group had about eight; and then a group that did the yard work and ramp had 12 to 15. Judy estimated that during the build, 100 to 125 people volunteered, in and out.

“It’s community coming together. All different groups. A little bit here, and a little bit there, but all working together for the same purpose. That really makes it go,” Mickey said.

Judy said the Nichters put in some “sweat equity” that was required.

“It turned out to be a really nice house for them,” he said.

Mickey said Habitat for Humanity of Kosciusko County has two more houses in the beginning stages, one in Warsaw and the other in North Webster. Fundraising for the houses is going on now through the campaign “500 for $500.” It asks 500 individuals, couples, businesses, churches or other groups to give $500 each.

“We’ve got about 20% of what we need,” she said. “It helped to finish this house. It was one reason we were able to get this house finished. Now we just need to have enough to continue on. There are always more needs than we have resources for. We need more volunteers, we need more people in the office and on committees and we need more finances. It’s a community-based organization so the community is really the one that is essential that has to come together in order for anything to happen.”

Habitat doesn’t make any money from the home. They’re sold to the homeowner at the cost of the mortgage.

“So what we operate on is the donations that come from the community – corporate, churches, individuals,” Mickey said.

She said if there’s about 40,000 households in the county, and each gave $200 a year, Habitat could do more.

To donate, visit the webpage www.kosciuskohabitat.org and use the “donate” option; or send a check to P.O. Box 1913, Warsaw, IN 46581 (payable to “Habitat to Humanity of Kosciusko County.”)