Habitat for Humanity thankful as community rallies around project

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Another site donated for next house project

Because of the care and concern of many volunteers, a Storm Lake family will have a new home.

The fifth Habitat for Humanity home will be dedicated Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the building site, 612 E. 5th St. The Maria De La Torre family will move in this weekend.

The goal of the Habitat for Humanity program is to provide simple, decent and affordable housing for families in need. The families that have been chosen by the selection committee have all been grateful for the opportunity to be owners of the homes.

It is a myth, cleared up President of the Habitat for Humanity Board Rod Muilenburg, that the homes are given to the family at no cost. The families selected must meet financial criteria and make the commitment to purchase the home at whatever the cost to build it was.

The costs are kept down due to the volunteer labor.

The family also makes the commitment to donate 200 (adult) hours to the project. The family members receive credit on that time if they help on another Habitat for Humanity Project.

By making these commitments, the family seems to earn the ownership.

The new home on 612 E. 5th St. sits on property donated by the family of Lloyd "Tubby" Brander. A dilapidated home on the property was removed.

It was just the kind of development the Habitat for Humanity committee would emerge as the program progressed in Buena Vista County.

Not only will there be a new family moving to the area, said public relations director Joe Kelley, but "the neighborhood is also being revitalized with a nice new home."

The home has three-bedrooms, contains 950-square-feet on the upstairs level, and has a basement. The home has been painted, carpeted and equipped with appliances.

It has taken eight months to complete this recent Habitat project and a lot of effort by hundreds of volunteers.

The support of the community has always been outstanding, Kelley and Muilenburg stressed. Even in these days when everyone is so busy, many make the commitment to help with the project. Many of the same volunteers keep coming back to help over and over. The local churches have a circuit of volunteers, as do some businesses.

Some of the technical jobs, such as the electrical work and plumbing, are done by professionals, but that the remaining work is done by the volunteers. "No one is given the task to do something above their abilities," said Kelley. "Anyone can be involved. There is always something to do."

If persons don't feel comfortable doing the construction work, Muilenburg said, the Habitat for Humanity program is always looking for volunteers to serve in other areas. There is the building committee, the family selection committee, the publicity committee, church relations committee, the meals committee (which feeds the volunteers during work days) and the support commit (which gives guidance to the family after the house is built on how to care for their new residence.) And of course there is always the need for finances if anyone is willing to help in this manner.

The Habitat for Humanity program has made dreams come true for five families so far and there are hopes of making many more families happy.

Another lot has already been donated for the next project. More details will be released some time after the 612 E. 5th St. home has been dedicated.

"It's rewarding to see how the community rallies around this project," said Muilenburg.

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