Chamber News

BUSINESS OF THE WEEK

 

Habitat For Humanity-Business of the Week 042017

Building houses, building hope

BY MARY EWERS

 

The West Plains Chamber of Commerce has chosen to recognize Habitat for Humanity of Howell County as Business of the Week.

Habitat for Humanity of Howell County is part of a global, nonprofit housing organization operated on Christian principles that seeks to put God’s love into action by building homes, communities and hope, local officials said.

“The basic belief is that everybody deserves to be some place to live,” said Craig King, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Howell County. “The key words when it comes to Habitat is that what we build is strength, stability, self-reliance and shelter. What we offer is a hand up, not a handout.”

Habitat for Humanity of Howell County was chartered in December, 1993, with the first home being built in 1994. Today, they have constructed and were instrumental in building 25 homes in the county, primarily in the West Plains area and five built in Mtn. View. Several other houses have been “rehabbed” as well as other projects that have helped support families in the local area.

The business is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions, King said.

Habitat for Humanity was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, durable place to live in dignity and safety, and that decent shelter in decent communities should be a matter of conscience and action for all, he said.

Founded in Americus, Georgia, in 1976, Habitat for Humanity today operates around the globe and has helped build, renovate and repair more than 600,000 decent, affordable houses sheltering more than three million people worldwide, King said.

 

MAIN CRITERIA

 

The families are chosen based on three main criteria: level of need; willingness to participate; and ability to pay for the house.

Those who are living in unsafe housing, overcrowded living space or who are homeless may qualify for Habitat

Homeowners who are selected to become a partner family will go through home ownership education classes, work at least 300 sweat equity hours and learn about construction by helping build their own home. A sense of accomplishment and pride in their home and community is achieved during this life-changing process.

Families who are chosen will be buying their home from Habitat For Humanity with mortgage payments ranging on average from $350 to $450 per month for 20 years. Applicants must have steady, regular income.

“We sell them the house at no profit and then we carry the mortgage at no interest,” explained King. “It really makes a difference when you take out profit and interest in a loan. It makes a big difference.”

 

VOLUNTEERS AND DONATIONS

 

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit ecumenical Christian housing ministry and therefore relies strongly on volunteer labor, tax-deductible donations and the success of Habitat Restore.

Habitat Restore is located at 1109 Porter Wagoner and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. It carries and sells at great bargain prices new and used building materials and a variety of household items, ranging from books, lamps, shelves and flooring to windows, doors, golf clubs, canoes and fishing gear.

The store accepts donations of anything for home and yard with the exception of electronics and clothing. The proceeds from the sales finances Habitat for Humanity of Howell County and makes it charitable work possible.

“Don’t throw it in the dumpster,” encouraged King. “Bring it to the Restore. Of course it needs to be in usable condition.”

Anyone wishing to learn more about Habitat for Humanity may call 256-8246 or visit its websites at westplainshabitat.org and habitat.org.

“People know of Habitat from building houses but what we’re really about is helping build families,” said King. “There’s a strength in owning your own home and the stability of it has a great effect, especially for children. Yes, we’re dealing with moms and dads but its the kids who are so positively affected by this. Self-reliance – we’re teaching people they can stand on their own two feet. We are very selective of our families but we want people who want to be successful and responsible. It’s a hand up, not a handout. What we hand out is an opportunity.”