SIKESTON -- Habitat for Humanity, an organization which creates quality, affordable housing for deserving families in need of a home, is taking root in Sikeston.
Efforts to establish the organization here began with Karen Davis, chairman of the Sikeston Area Habitat for Humanity steering committee, when she suggested the program as co-chair of the First United Methodist Church's outreach committee.
"I was involved with Habitat in St. Louis -- we just moved back to Sikeston last May," Davis recalled. "I just started making calls because we wanted to bring Habitat to Sikeston."
During a search for more information, she found out about the Cape Area Habitat for Humanity chapter, which has already built several homes.
"They offered to help us to have a build in Sikeston," Davis said. "They're partnering with us."
The target date to begin Sikeston's first Habitat home has been set for September, according to Davis.
"I've had a great response from numerous people, so I really feel we can meet this September target. There is a lot to be done but with enough people pulling, we can make it," she said.
The Sikeston area Habitat for Humanity will operate independently with its own funding under the authorization of the Cape Area Habitat for Humanity chapter, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Donations of money or materials to a Sikeston project are therefore tax-deductible.
"They're putting us under their umbrella, their affiliation, for this build," Davis said.
Four sub-committees have been formed to guide efforts in Sikeston, according to Davis, each of which report to the steering committee: a development committee, a family selection and support committee, a site selection committee and a construction committee.
"We will begin the selection of a family very soon -- we are developing the criteria right now," she said. "We like to select the families sooner than later as sometimes we can tailor the home to meet the family's needs."
Davis said this program does not just give away free homes.
"We're going to enable them to partner with us to purchase a home," she said. "They have a lot of sweat equity and then they purchase the home."
The "sweat equity" consists of well over 300 hours of involvement including construction work on the home, which will be designed to be very energy-
efficient, and receiving education on caring for a home and financing the purchase with an interest-free loan.
Davis said she hopes this is just the beginning for the program here. "We plan on this being every year, not just a one-time thing," she said.
Habitat for Humanity International, which became known to many as the organization for which former President Jimmy Carter volunteers his time and construction skills, was founded in 1976 in Americus, Ga., by Millard and Linda Fuller.
Since its establishment, the organization has provided shelter for more than 1 million people in over 3,000 communities around the world through the construction of more than 200,000 homes.
Those interested in volunteering in local projects are encouraged to attend the next meeting of the local Habitat for Humanity steering committee scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at the First United Methodist Church, located at 1307 North Main.
On the Net: Habitat for Humanity International: http://www.habitat.org