Savannah gets a pink canopy bed

Five-year-old Savannah Forrer has always wanted a pink bedroom. Although she doesn't have the pink walls that she has always imagined, she does have a pink canopy bed, in her own room, in her own home.

Five-year-old Savannah Forrer has always wanted a pink bedroom. Although she doesn't have the pink walls that she has always imagined, she does have a pink canopy bed, in her own room, in her own home.

Savannah's mother, Shantrice Forrer, applied for a Habitat for Humanity house a year-and-a-half ago. After years of renting apartments in the area and facing increasing rent, she decided it was time to have her own home. "I would rather put the money into owning a home instead of putting it into apartments," said Shantrice Forrer. "We heard a lot about it (Habitat for Humanity), and we decided to fill out an application, and we were accepted."

The Forrer's house was the 1,000th Habitat for Humanity house to be built in Minnesota and was part of the "Blitz Build" last summer. Habitat for Humanity-Duluth built "2 homes for 2 families in 2 weeks." The other home that was built during the Blitz Build is next door to the Forrers' and was the 1001st house.

The project was accomplished with the help of over 300 volunteers. The Forrers had the help of family, friends and volunteers from Asbury Methodist Church. "It's all built by volunteers," said Linda Boyer, Shantrice Forrer's mother. Bob Boyer, Shantrice Forrer's father, enlisted the help of local trade unions who he worked with. The group became known as the "Boyer family crew" during the build.

In addition to the work on the house, 350 hours of "Sweat Equity" community volunteer work needed to be done in order for Shantrice Forrer to receive the home. She volunteered at the Habitat for Humanity-Duluth office, but did not need to do all of the work herself. Just as friends and family helped out with the building of the home, they helped in building the "Sweat Equity" hours.


Shantrice Forrer was able to pick out most of what went into the home from pictures at the Habitat office. "I knew what I wanted," she said about the lights, wood and carpet in the house. "I just wanted to have my own house."

"And Savannah asked for a pink bedroom and she got her bedroom with a pink canopy bed," said Linda Boyer. "And they'll never have to move again."

"That's what I hated, the process of moving," said Shantrice Forrer.

The house is located in the same neighborhood where Shantrice grew up and has lived in all her life. "We were looking for lots, and we found these lots," said Boyer. "and it was an area Shantrice wanted to live in."

I like my home, it's best," said Savannah Forrer.

The idea for the project began in January 2003 when Jan Evans, who headed the Asbury United Methodist Church community action committee, brought the idea that affordable housing was needed in Duluth to the attention of the committee. She gave the Forrers, who attend Asbury, as an example of a family who would benefit from a home. Soon, this led to a collaboration with Habitat.

From there, everything fell into place.

The RV Caravanners, a group of people who travel the country working on Habitat houses, were scheduled to be in Duluth in July, and the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation agreed to donate $2,500 for every day a Wells Fargo employee worked on the houses.


It usually takes three to four months to complete a Habitat for Humanity home. Work began on the Blitz Build houses at 8 a.m. on Sunday, July 13, and continued non-stop until the completion celebration on the evening of July 27. The two houses for two families were completed in exactly two weeks.

The dedication of the Blitz Build houses took place on Nov. 7, at Asbury United Methodist Church. "We invited everybody to be a part of it," said Lisa Cerri, director of volunteer services for Habitat for Humanity-Duluth. "It's basically a blessing on the families in their new homes." The dedication is a ceremony that contributes the work, effort and energy that makes the building of the homes possible to God.

Another major contribution to Habitat houses is the donations made by Dedication Partners who donate money during the dedication of a house. "This way, they don't make the contribution until the house is complete," said Cerri. They are also assured that the work for which they have made a donation is being done. The money goes to finish the home and to seed new projects. Habitat for Humanity-Duluth has 500 Dedication Partners and is working to increase the number to 1,000.

Since 1989, 30 houses have been build in the Duluth area by Habitat for Humanity. To become involved in any Habitat for Humanity projects, or to become a Dedication Partner, call the Duluth office at 722-3875. Habitat for Humanity-Duluth is located at 2002 W. Superior St., No. 9.

Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry that seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world. HFHI invites people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses together in partnership with families in need. Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses with the help of the homeowner (partner) families. The houses are sold to the partner families at no profit and are financed with no-interest loans.

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