As the weather gets warmer, dozens of new homes are being built across Iowa through the efforts of Habitat for Humanity. Jesse Mattes just moved into a Habitat home in Shenandoah with his wife and three children.
"It’s a godsend," Mattes says. "We’ve been in trailers, we’ve been in apartments, as cheapest a rent as we could find. This is just great. This is a wonderful home and it fits us perfectly. We’re just so happy to be here."
Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates houses with the homeowner’s help. The homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments are used to build more Habitat houses.
Mattes was laid off from his job in Clarinda last month and says he and his wife were persistent in applying for help. He says it took a month before they were selected and whenever a form was sent, they’d fill it out and send it right back that same day. Habitat for Humanity board member Marilyn Hoskins says this is about the fastest a home has been completed.
Construction began in August and the family moved into it in March. Hoskins says many volunteers and workers helped make the home a reality. Hoskins says state prison inmates made all of the kitchen cabinets and all of the exterior and interior walls. It was usually a four-weekend project but with the pre-fabricated walls, the shell was complete within half a day. Hoskins says she appreciates the city working with the organization on projects.
"We have more Habitat houses in Shenandoah because the city is so easy to deal with," Hoskins says. "They know the value of putting a home in an empty lot and they work with us to make that happen." Hoskins says the board is accepting applications for the next home they hope to build by the end of next year. For more information, visit the Habitat website .