HabiJax, volunteers build home in 24 hours

By Crystal Chen - Assignment editor/reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - From dusk until dawn, the Northeast Florida Builders Association and HabiJax are on a fast-paced mission to bring awareness to affordable housing. 

In 24 hours, a new home will be built on the corner of Windle and Rushing streets: two 12-hour days of hard work that started at 6 a.m. Wednesday.

"We're doing this in 24 hours to build awareness for Habitat for Humanity, for the NEFLBA and also for the need of affordable housing and keeping the cost as low as we can so people can afford a new home," said Rick Morales, president of NEFLBA.

Morales said he's built about a dozen homes with Habitat for Humanity over the years and they typically take one to two weeks to complete. He said it's the first time his group has ever tried to finish a home in 24 hours.

"We've done a lot of houses in a week and that isn't very tough," Morales said. "We've got it down to a science, but we've never tried to build one in 24 hours, so it's blazing new ground."

Organizers literally have every minute of this build planned out so they can get the home built safely in those 24 hours. That includes having all inspectors there at once.

"It takes a lot of work, a lot of people and a lot of coordination," Morales said. "The neat thing is everybody is so excited about this, they're actually showing up early. Crews that aren't supposed to be here till this afternoon are showing up early and getting ready."

The lucky homeowner is a 25-year-old man who chose the New Town neighborhood. He hopes to make a change in the community and inspire others. 

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