It Takes a Village

Habitat for Humanity of Denton County Reveals Plans for 35-Home Community and Embarks on 104th Build

Article by Stephanie Hasbrouck

Photography by Pilot Point Post-Signal and Contributed

Originally published in Cross Timbers Lifestyle

Habitat for Humanity of Denton County believes that all families should have a home. The organization is turning that belief into action as it embarks on its 104th build and finalizes plans for an ambitious new 35-home village.

“Habitat for Humanity of Denton County is so special to the community — part of our mission is literally to build community,” says Lora Blakeslee Atkinson, Executive Director for Habitat for Humanity of Denton County. “Habitat makes having a house not only affordable, but also attainable for the hardworking families in Denton County who would never otherwise be able to afford one due to their unique and/or difficult situations in life.”  

Habitat homeowners participate in the process by helping build their own homes alongside volunteers. 

“Habitat’s homebuyers invest hundreds of hours of their own labor, called sweat equity, working alongside volunteers and other Habitat homeowners, in addition to paying an affordable mortgage and receiving financial education,” Lora says.

This past July, Habitat of Denton County constructed its 103rd home and dedicated it to the Miller family. The Cross Timbers Rotary Club of Flower Mound contributed $105,000 to the build through fundraisers and a grant from the David Henry Foundation. The club also contributed 360 volunteer shifts during the 14-week build. Owner Carla Miller says working with volunteers to build her home was an unforgettable experience.

“It was amazing to be able to build your own home. It was something the kids and I will always remember,” Carla says.  “We love it very much, and we are blessed.”

Habitat for Humanity of Denton County was established in 1994 and soon will begin its most exciting endeavor yet – an 8-acre Habitat Village that will provide as many as 35 families in Denton County with affordable housing.

“In addition to building these homes, this project also includes establishing the infrastructure of the neighborhood, including streets, sidewalks, utilities, the proper drainage requirements and everything else needed to support a neighborhood of 35 homes,” Lora says.

Habitat Village will be located in Southeast Denton, between Duncan Street and Hill Street and along Smith Street. The village will provide Habitat with buildable land for the next five to 10 years.

“This will help us manage the cost of lots for future homes and will allow us to have a center of home building activities for many years to come. This will provide synergies for our building crews, volunteers, future homeowners and allow us to develop land in Southeast Denton,” says David Johnson, Board President of Habitat for Humanity of Denton County.

A fundraising capital campaign currently is underway to raise the $1.9 million needed to excavate, install utilities and grade foundation pads for home sites on the 8 acres.

While Habitat Village may be the boldest plan on the organization’s horizon, Habitat for Humanity of Denton County has many other exciting initiatives for 2021.

Party with a Purpose will take place April 17 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Denton Convention Center. The Greater Denton/Wise County Association of Realtors will host the event benefitting Habitat. Party with a Purpose will include live music from In10City, complementary appetizers, a cash bar and raffles.

Habitat for Humanity of Denton County also is in the process of remodeling its ReStore. The organization purchased its ReStore property in 2020 and plans to remodel part of it to become its new corporate offices.

“This will have a huge impact on the future of Habitat Denton, as all aspects of the affiliate will operate together on one campus,” Lora says. “We have sold our Carroll Boulevard property to Ruth’s Room for their expansion, and we will move our offices to our remodeled ReStore property this summer.”

In the meantime, Habitat of Denton County has begun the process of building its 104th home for a hardworking, deserving local family in need. The organization’s Homeownership Services Committee selects homeowners based on three criteria: the applicant’s level of need, their willingness to partner with Habitat and their ability to repay a mortgage through an affordable down payment plan.

Through the organization’s Veterans Home Program, veterans and their families have partnered with Habitat to improve their housing since 2013. The Veterans Home Program has three facets: ReHabitat, a home repair program for Denton County veterans; A Brush with Kindness,  a program to help moderate income homeowners and veterans maintain the exterior of their homes; and New Home Builds for veterans in need of decent housing.

All of Habitat’s programs depend on the hard work of local volunteers, Lora says.

“Volunteers are the heart and soul of Habitat for Humanity of Denton County. Any and everyone is able to volunteer with us, no matter the skill level,” she says.

Volunteers are needed to help build and repair homes, bring lunches and snacks to those working at the build sites and work at the ReStore. Groups from churches or businesses are encouraged to participate. In addition, volunteers are needed for the Homeownership Services Committee, Build Committee, Land Acquisition Committee, ReStore Committee and more.

Habitat of Denton County also appreciates monetary donations and contributions to its ReStore, which accepts gently used furniture, hardware, building materials and more. Shopping at ReStore also benefits Habitat. Every contribution helps Habitat reach its goal of making sure everyone has a place to call home.  

For more information about Habitat for Humanity of Denton County events and programs, visit HabitatDentonCounty.org.

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