COLUMBIA — The Columbia chapter of Habitat for Humanity, Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity, will be dedicating the 100th home built locally by volunteers on Saturday.
The residence at 2507 Emery Drive will soon be the new home of Salih Mehmedovic and his family. Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity has bought land at the intersection of Proctor Drive and North Creasy Springs Road, with plans to build 10 homes there. Three of those homes are already complete and occupied by Habitat for Humanity home recipients.
Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity chose the area because the land had been foreclosed upon and was therefore very affordable.
“We buy land where we can afford to buy a house and where people want to live,” said Bill View, executive director of Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity.
View said all the construction in the area should be finished within the next year.
The 100th home was built by Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity’s day crew, a group of retired men who work from 8 a.m. to noon, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays year-round. The day crew builds five to six homes each year.
"All of our volunteers are responsible for the 100th home, and I am confident that those volunteers will be here for the next 100," View said. "It took 23 years to build the first 100 homes in Columbia, but the next 100 will be built in less than half that time."
Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity receives approximately 100 requests for homes each year, but View said most people do not qualify. Applicants must meet income guidelines, which means their incomes must fall 30 to 50 percent below Columbia's median income.
Through the application process, the organization evaluates the applicant’s credit, looking to see if he or she made a reasonable effort to pay bills. Once accepted, recipients must work "sweat equity" hours, during which they help build their home. This can amount to anywhere from 250 to 350 hours, depending on the size of the family applying and the home being built.
“They get their hands dirty and realize there’s a lot they can do on their own,” View said.
Home recipients also take free classes at The Home Depot or Lowe's that teach them how to take care of their homes.
“We just want them to get their feet on the ground about how to do stuff,” View said. “It plants a seed on the ground if a problem happens later on.”
Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity builds eight to 10 homes in Columbia in a typical year, and the average home takes four to eight months to build.
Homes come with new appliances, including a washer, dryer, refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, and central cooling and heating. Appliance manufacturer Whirlpool donates all refrigerators and stoves to every Habitat for Humanity home nationwide. Schneider Electric provides the service panels in the homes, and Valspar Paint donates paint.
In addition to mortgage payments, recipients pay into a maintenance fund each month that they can use to maintain their homes.
“People want to be helped," View said. "We give them a hand up, and it’s their job to hold on."
The ceremony will take place from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. outside of the home. The event will feature guest speakers, including Mehmedovic, City Councilman Jason Thornhill and representatives from Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity. A ribbon cutting by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce will follow, and guests can walk through the home during an open house. MFA Oil Co. and Break Time convenience stores will supply hot dogs and drinks.