|San Jacinto News Times - Local News
Copyright 2014 - Polk County Publishing Company
Local Habitat for Humanity enjoying community success
COLDSPRING – Established at Coldspring in 2002, San Jacinto County Habitat for Humanity has since constructed six homes for families and they now have a new home of their own to help them raise money to build more homes, according to Executive Director and Construction Chairman Charles "Jerry" Strouse. Speaking before the Coldspring/ San Jacinto County Chamber of Commerce last Tuesday, Strouse said their new home, located in the old Coldspring volunteer fire station, is referred to as the Home Center and will help enable the organization to sustain itself by accepting donations of new and used building materials, remodeling items and gently used appliances and furniture. About 50 attended the chamber luncheon to hear Strouse as he spoke about the founders of Habitat for Humanity Millard and Linda Fuller and told how their desires for helping those in desperate need of a place to call home lives on through Habitat for Humanity. Listing the criteria for building houses by the organization, Strouse said first there must be a need for a house; second, the needy party must have the income to pay for the housing material in mortgage payments; and third, they must provide 300 hours of sweat equity during the building process. "Habitat for Humanity is not a giveaway program and it is not for profit either," Strouse said. "This is not a giveaway program but a hands up program. We carry an interest-free mortgage on the houses for 20 to 25 years." Since 2004, the organization has constructed six houses in San Jacinto County, all located in the Shepherd and Coldspring areas. The organization is served by a 12-member board of directors whose members serve on committees that oversees resources and development, family search and construction sites. "We currently do not have any new building sites available," Strouse said, "We are looking, but property gets harder and harder to find." Strouse said Habitat for Humanity is here (San Jacinto County) today because of growth and sustainability and the generosity of many through fundraisers, county citizens, county organizations, churches, county businesses and from mortgage repayments from the six homeowners who are living in completed homes. "We receive no money support from Habitat International. We do receive in-kind gifts from Habitat for Humanity's National Suppliers," Strouse said. Sharing some interesting facts, Strouse said it takes about $35,000 to $40,000 to build a Habitat home; two years to fund a home and four to five months to construct a home. "Habitat buys land and can build on other people's property," Strouse said. "When a home is completed and we hand the keys and a Bible over to the new homeowners, there is no better feeling," Strouse said.