With the end of construction in sight on their current project, Neosho Area Habitat for Humanity is looking for its next family to place in a new home.
Mary Beth Williams, the group's president, said the organization tries to average one home per year and volunteers are hoping to complete their current project, a three-bedroom, bungalow-style home on Grant Avenue, by the end of this year.
"We're hoping it will be finished before Christmas, that's our goal," Williams said. "We'll start our new one while we're finishing that one."
Williams said before the group can take any steps toward beginning a new home, they first have to select a family to occupy the house.
"We find a family first so that we know how big to build the house," Williams said. "We also pick our family so that from day one they have the opportunity to start putting in their sweat equity hours."
The sweat equity hours are the amount of hours a family is required to invest in helping with construction of their new home.
Williams said the required hours vary depending on the family. In a two-parent household, the family members are required to work a minimum of 350 hours, while a single parent is required to invest 250 hours into their home. However, if the single parent has children that are old enough to pitch in, the hours requirement increases to 350.
"It's definitely a partnership," Williams said. "It's a hand up, not a hand out."
Williams said there are criteria a family must meet to be considered for a Habitat home, and they must go through an application process, with the successful family being chosen by the organization's selection committee.
Eligible families must be able to afford a monthly payment, and should not have bad credit, though no credit is fine, Williams said. They should also not make enough money to be able to qualify for a conventional home loan.
"We build it and then we finance it at no interest at all," Williams said. "Most of our house payments, including taxes and insurance, are less than $400 a month."
Williams said it took Neosho Habitat several months to find their current family.
Kyle and Whittney Marshall, who with their young daughter will be moving into their new home on Grant Avenue in just a few months, broke ground on the home in October 2012, though construction did not begin until April.
Williams said while the organization likes to average one home per year, depending on volunteer services sometimes means the process takes a bit longer.
"We have to be patient if we want it at no charge," Williams said. "We could have hired it done, but right now we have about $14,000 in this and it's completely framed, under roof, all the doors and windows are in, and all the wiring is in. You can't do that if you're hiring it out."
Page 2 of 2 - She said the group is very appreciative of the work volunteers have done.
The volunteered services include block laying done at no charge by Branco Enterprises employees Wayne Rowe, Jonathan Paul and Greg Tuggle, who performed the work on their own time.
Lawrence Evans has completed the wiring for free, as well.
Meanwhile, Dan Shea Construction, consisting of Shea and workers Ryan Lusby, Kyle Coburn, and Cody Zimmerman, performed the entire framework for minimal labor costs.
"We have people coming and going all the time," Williams said. "We don't necessarily have volunteers that I can just throw out names because there's so many that have helped there that I don't even know all that have been there."
Williams said families interested in applying to receive the next Habitat for Humanity home can do so by picking up an application at one of two Neosho locations: at Terry Telford's Shelter Insurance office, located at 212 S. Neosho Boulevard, or at Newton County Abstract and Title, located at 107 W. Main Street.
Interested families can also call the local Habitat hotline, at 451-9229, and leave a message.