Habitat house set to occupy | TheUnion.com

Habitat house set to occupy

Dan BurkhartJarvis Jacobs, 18 (center), represents his mother and four siblings as Dave Emanuel gives him the address numbers to his family's new home. Emanuel is vice president of Nevada County Habitat for Humanity; to the left of Jarvis is Eleanor Kenitzer, president of Nevada County Habitat for Humanity.
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For their 50th wedding anniversary last summer, Garvin and Betty Jabusch decided to make the day special for someone other than themselves.

So they invited scores of friends from across the country and met on a dirt lot at the corner of Ridge and Slate Creek roads in Grass Valley, and began building a home for a family they barely knew.

For nearly a week, as many as 92 members of the Jabusch clan and their local friends dug trenches and set foundations for a home for a single mother and five needy children.

“We figured we didn’t need any presents or anything,” Betty Jabusch said. “It felt very satisfying to do this.”

“It was so much fun,” her husband said.

Sunday, the Newcastle couple welcomed Jarvis Jacobs, 18, his mother and four of his siblings into a new four-bedroom, two-bath home built by the Nevada County chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

The home, which will be occupied by Friday, is 1,200 square feet and features a one-car garage and donated new appliances and lighting fixtures.

Jacobs, a senior at Nevada Union High School, accepted the keys from chapter president Eleanor Kenitzer.

“I appreciate life more now,” he said. “I spent most of the summer building here.”

Jacobs shyly thanked the passel of Habitat representatives and those who invested both capital and sweat equity to complete his new home.

“I really appreciate everything you’ve done for me, because without you I wouldn’t have a place to call home. Everybody here has a special place in my heart,” he said.

He also accepted from Habitat members a handmade birdhouse, a photo album with pictures of the house in various stages of construction, and the numbers “981” to be placed near the entrance door.

It is the third home built by the local Habitat chapter, and there are plans for a handful more, Kenitzer said, including one currently being framed next door.

The Jacobses were selected last year, Kenitzer said. To be eligible, the family had to make 50 percent or less than the Nevada County median income for a family their size. They will pay back the cost of the home, interest-free, over the next 30 years.

“We’re talking about people who would have never been able to get in a home,” Kenitzer said.

Money for construction of the home came in part from three Methodist churches in Grass Valley, Nevada City and Sierra Pines.

The Jacobses live in an apartment, Jarvis Jacobs said, that is small and often hard to breathe in, exacerbating his asthma.

Jarvis Jacobs said it’s sometimes hard to believe his fate.

“People don’t just say, ‘Hey, there’s a single mom with five kids. Let’s build ’em a house.’ It takes people with a special place in their heart to do this,” he said.

People like Betty and Garvin Jabusch, it seems.

“We had a wonderful group of people working with us, and we know we’re doing some good,” said Garvin Jabusch, a retired teacher who has, with his wife, helped build 90 homes in places like Guatemala, Hungary, Mississippi, Tennessee and Oregon over the past 15 years.

“We feel really blessed,” he said.

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