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Granite Shoals home is 24th for Highland Lakes Habitat for Humanity

Highland Lakes Habitat for Humanity in Granite Shoals

A small army of volunteers erected a wall on a new home being built by Highland Lakes Habitat for Humanity in Granite Shoals on June 18. All four walls were framed out on the same day. Courtesy photo by Greg Mills

More than 30 volunteers gathered in Granite Shoals on June 18 to help a family begin their journey to home ownership and all of the benefits that come with it.

The group began work on Highland Lakes Habitat for Humanity’s 24th home since the local organization’s founding in 1994. 

“The overall mission of Habitat for Humanity is to eliminate poverty housing,” said Greg Mills, president of the Highland Lakes group. Mills has been working with the local organization since 1995 and served as president for a total of nine years.

The home currently under construction is one of two being built in Granite Shoals. The families will be neighbors once the houses are finished.

These aren’t free homes. Habitat for Humanity finances the house and facilitates construction. Then, the family typically takes on a 20-year, no-interest loan that is held by Habitat for Humanity.

To qualify for a Habitat for Humanity home, a so-called “partner family” must meet certain qualifications. Applicants must prove a level of income that correlates to the number of household members, starting at $26,340 ($2,195 a month) for a single-member household going all the way up to $49,680 ($4,140 a month) for an eight-member household. These requirements ensure that the partner family is able to support its new home.

Another requirement for families seeking a Habitat for Humanity home is “sweat equity.” They must contribute at least 300 hours of labor with 150 hours worked on someone else’s home.

Jose Quintanilla and Leticia Lopez and daughters Jolissa and Lailani Quintanilla will move into one home. Tonya and Jose Villalobos and sons Jess, Mark, and Jacob will get the other.

To keep costs more manageable, Habitat for Humanity homes are built almost exclusively by volunteers. People interested in lending a hand don’t need much, if any, construction skills.

“There’s not a whole lot of experience needed. You learn as you go,” said Tom Luckenbach, a nine-year veteran of Habitat for Humanity’s volunteer program.

According to Luckenbach, each job site typically has eight or nine volunteers. The more than 30 workers on June 18 was exceptional. Neighbors, friends, and tons of family members were involved.

Construction typically takes nine months to complete.

Research has shown that home ownership contributes to a person’s well-being. 

“If you can give people a stable environment and firm foundation, everyone does better,” Mills said.

Habitat for Humanity is an international organization with branches around the world. Since its inception in 1976, Habitat for Humanity has built over 600,000 homes and housed more than 3 million people.

If you are interested in volunteering for Highland Lakes Habitat for Humanity, request to be added to its distribution list by emailing hlhabitat@gmail.com.

The local organization is always looking for donations of time, resources, or land. To do so, contact it at the email address above.

dakota@thepicayune.com

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