Habitat for Humanity of Southeast Ohio finished the build of a new home for a Nelsonville family earlier this year in partnership with Rocky Brands; the two entities are being joined by OhioHealth O'Bleness this year to build another Nelsonville home for a family in need of one on West Franklin Street.

Although Habitat for Humanity of Southeast Ohio has not identified the exact location of the home on West Franklin Street or the name of the family yet, Kenneth Oehlers, Habitat for Humanity of Southeast Ohio's executive director, said Thursday that the family is "a very deserving, hardworking family."

Oehlers said that the home build will start this summer, continuing through fall and finishing sometime around Christmas of 2015, weather-depending. He noted that the proposed home on West Franklin Street will have two bedrooms and one bathroom.

Oehlers said that Nelsonville is a great community with a rich arts culture, and that Rocky Brands (the company that owns Rocky Boots in Nelsonville) has been a supporter of Habitat's Nelsonville projects; however, he said, the housing stock in Nelsonville is an issue.

"It's something we have worked with the city administration to... identify issues in areas where housing stock might be poorer," he said. "It's an opportunity for us to help neighborhoods there."

To that end, Oehlers said, Habitat has built 15 homes in Nelsonville alone so far, with No. 16 and 17 starting this summer (one of which will be the Rocky Brands/OhioHealth-sponsored build). He noted that Habitat for Humanity of Southeast Ohio builds four or five houses in southeast Ohio each year.

The total cost of the Nelsonville housing project is around $70,000, Oehlers noted. Both OhioHealth O'Bleness and Rocky Brands' spokespersons confirmed Thursday that each organization has committed to donating $20,000 toward the effort.

He also said that during the Rocky Brands-sponsored housing build that started last year and completed this spring, Rocky Brands employees and volunteers put in thousands of hours of work on the project. Rocky Brands spokesperson Sarah Milligan said that that was Habitat for Humanity of Southeast Ohio's first corporate-sponsored house build in Athens County - she said it was a kind of "gauntlet" thrown down for other corporations in Ohio.

"We need other corporations to step up and do the same thing," she said. "OhioHealth has taken that challenge and it's exciting."

Sydney Webber, OhioHealth O'Bleness' director of marketing and communications, noted that OhioHealth O'Bleness was "very committed to Nelsonville and to Athens county.

"We're really excited to be working with Habitat and Rocky to build a house for a community member."

Oehlers said the exact involvement of each organization hasn't been determined yet as plans for the build are still in early stages, but that both OhioHealth O'Bleness and Rocky Brands will be involved "heavily" throughout the project. OhioHealth O'Bleness and Rock Brands spokespersons noted that their corporations wished to invest in Nelsonville.

Oehlers noted Habitat's commitment to "build one house a year, or one house every other year, for Nelsonville, because it's a great place for our families."

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