Calhoun Habitat for Humanity 'working harder than ever'
By BY SONNY LONG - SLONG@VICAD.COM
Sept. 5, 2011 at 4:05 a.m.
HOW TO HELP
To learn more about the Calhoun County Habitat for Humanity and how you can help, call 361-552-5005.
Busy would be the best way to describe the Calhoun County Habitat for Humanity affiliate.
The organization, which recently began its first build in Seadrift, is continuing its sixth build in Port Lavaca and has an ongoing program with the city of Port Lavaca - the Jim O'Neil's Brush With Kindness project.
"We're working harder than we ever have," said Barbara Watson, the organization's executive director for about two years. "This is an exciting time for us."
The Jim O'Neil's Brush With Kindness project - named for the longtime harbor master and Habitat board member who died in February - is a joint effort with the city of Port Lavaca and the local board of realtors, said Watson.
The program is an exterior home preservation service that offers painting, landscaping, weather stripping and minor repair services.
"The city wants to clean up unsightly areas and Habitat wants to help restore and revitalize homes, so it's a win-win situation," said Watson.
Port Lavaca city manager Bob Turner said the city's role includes waiving potential fees and providing a Dumpster and hauling services when needed.
"It's a wonderful program, especially when you can partner with other groups," Turner said. "It works well when all agencies are involved."
Turner emphasized that homes rehabbed under this program, as well as any other Habitat build, would have to meet city inspection guidelines.
Watson said three homeowners have been identified with the assistance of local realtor Russell Cain.
"They will most likely qualify for a loan and we'll go in there and do the restoration, then target the next one," Watson said.
A no-interest loan is made to the homeowner to cover the cost of the project. Payments made by the homeowners are placed in a revolving fund to help A Brush with Kindness serve others in need, according to Habitat for Humanity criteria for the program.
In addition to that program, the Calhoun County Habitat for Humanity broke ground on its first build in Seadrift on Aug. 16.
This project, sponsored by Dow Seadrift Operations, is a joint effort of the Seadrift Chamber of Commerce and the Seadrift Lions Club, who combined to donate the property, Watson said.
The Lions Club is raising additional funds to offset the costs and its next fundraiser is a spaghetti supper on Sept. 22.
In Port Lavaca, Habitat has recently received funding from the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas to complete its sixth house, said Watson.
The house on Davis Street was started about nine months ago but has been on hold due to lack of funding, she said.
The house is next to two other Habitat houses in a neighborhood where a series of five lots was donated to the organization.
The Calhoun County Habitat for Humanity has been recognized as an official affiliate since 2003.
Its annual Foundation dinner, the group's major fundraiser, is scheduled for Nov. 3.