Members of the Hoisington Chamber of Commerce, Hoisington City Council, and Barton County Habitat for Humanity gathered at 322 E. 6th Street in Hoisington Thursday morning to break ground on a project that will make the dreams of one as yet undetermined Barton County family come true. This is not the first such build in the city.
“Habitat for Humanity Barton County was formed in 2001 after the Hoisington tornado, so it is only fitting we should come back,” Board Chair Austin Coyan said. He shared with those gathered the mission and accomplishments of the organization to date. A second build is also planned for 2016 on another Hoisington Land Bank lot located at 358 W. Railroad. Each of the identical homes will have three bedrooms and 1.75 bathrooms.
The goal is to have both homes completed in a year’s time, weather permitting, according to Megan Barfield, secretary. Because of current lending laws, families have not yet been chosen. A list of names of those interested has been gathered but no formal applications will be taken until it is announced on the group’s facebook page. That will be in a few more weeks when the foundation is poured for the first build.
Almost a year ago, the house that once stood on the now vacant lot was damaged beyond repair from a fire that claimed the life of its owner. The family donated the lot to the Hoisington Land Bank, which then had the lot cleared. In September, the city approved the transfer of the lot to Habitat.
Operating with no staff, the completely volunteer group is able to dedicate all donations and funds raised to projects that provide the opportunity of homeownership to families in Barton County. They are able to do this through non-interest bearing mortgages on homes built largely by donated labor and supplies. Families provide 400 hours of sweat equity towards the building of their home, and along the way learn construction skills, as well as money management and finance skills that will help them to stay focused on their quest of paying off and maintaining their home.
“The City of Hoisington is thrilled to partner with Habitat in increasing the supply of affordable housing here, and we hope to do more in the near future,” said City Manager Jonathan Mitchell.
Long term goals include exploring more options outside of Great Bend to truly provide affordable housing to Barton County. After the two Hoisington builds, they will roll out a new program, Brushed with Kindness, to offer to current homeowners needing assistance. Donations and volunteers are always needed and appreciated, Austin added.