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BEHIND THE SCENES / ORANGE COUNTY

Building Compassion, Interest--and a House

November 07, 1996

If you need to build a house, where do you turn?

Faced with such a question, the Mercy House Transitional Living Centers called upon leaders in Orange County's building community. The center, which provides temporary housing for homeless men and women with children, is building a home in Santa Ana for people with AIDS.

The Orange County Building Industry Assn. and others are throwing their muscle behind the $1.5-million project by raising money and donating services and supplies.

To kick off fund-raising efforts and unveil design plans, 165 supporters gathered recently for an Evening of Art, Music and Compassion at the Juarez Fine Art Gallery in Laguna Beach.

Dana Eggerts of Creative Design Consultants in Costa Mesa, who is designing the home's interior, says $40,000 was raised at the gallery event. Plans are being made for a Kentucky Derby benefit in May at the Crean mansion in Santa Ana Heights. "We're hoping to raise $100,000 that day," Eggerts says.

Groundbreaking on the 25-bedroom facility begins in January with a projected finish by the end of 1997.

The city of Santa Ana donated land in the historic French Park district; Larry Webb of Laing Homes in Irvine is building the 14,500-square-feet structure, and Phil Hove of RNM Architects Planners in Newport Beach is finalizing plans on an Old Santa Ana Court House-style bungalow design.

"This will be the largest home [for people with AIDS] in Orange County," Eggerts says. "We're building something bigger than a house.

"It started off much smaller, but there's no point making it small when with a little more effort we can help so many more people."

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