They call it a “capitol idea.” A Habitat for Humanity house is being constructed on the street beside the Iowa statehouse and a special ceremony this (Monday) morning kicked-off construction. They call it a “capitol idea.” A Habitat for Humanity house is being constructed on the street beside the Iowa statehouse and a special ceremony this (Monday) morning kicked-off construction.
Larry Henning, the Habitat for Humanity coordinator for Greater Des Moines, hopes the high-profile spot highlights the program. “One of the things that we want to get across this week…is that self-house housing like Habitat for Humanity is not a safety net,” Henning says. “It’s really about a trampoline, to be able bounce people up and to help them to the next level.”
The house is being built for Carmen Kelly and her four children, and Kelly will be on the site, often, performing the “sweat equity” that’s part of the deal. “I’ve been renting and moving as long as I can remember,” Kelly says. “Like a lot of people my lifelong dream has been to own my own home.”
Kelly has been homeless, and she was overcome with emotion as she talked at today’s dedication ceremony. “I went to Habitat for Humanity and was given a second chance,” she says. “Because of all of you here, and for Habitat for Humanity, my dream has become a reality and I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”
People from state government, including legislators and the Lieutenant Governor, will work on the house along with about two-hundred bankers who’ve volunteered.
The Iowa Bankers Association is also providing the financing for the house. The association’s C-E-O, John Sorenson, was at the worksite this morning. “We’d also like to thank the State of Iowa…for giving us the opportunity to demonstrate the importance of volunteerism and the uniquely-Iowa effort to help your neighbor like this particular Habitat project,” Sorenson says.
Sorenson and the dignitaries like Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson stood on the home’s first floor and raised the first wall this morning. “This is a capitol idea,” Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson said. “We’re so pleased and proud to be able to showcase the building of this home here on the capitol grounds where we hope all of Des Moines and all of Iowa takes notice.”
Kelly, the future homeowner, has six kids. Two are adults. The others are 16, 14, 10, and seven. The home is being built on a platform and it will be moved from the capitol grounds to a nearby lot and placed on its permanent foundation later this spring.