For now, the space at 1503 North Main Avenue in Neosho is vacant — a grass-covered lot surrounded by mature trees — but in the future it will become home sweet home for an as-yet undesignated family thanks to Neosho Habitat for Humanity.

The Arvest Foundation made a $5,000 donation this week to the organization which will help the project get underway.

Local Habitat for Humanity executive director Sy Werner was on hand to accept the donation.

"Thank you in a big way for this great donation," he said. "It comes at a good time."

Since it's fall and the winter season is just ahead, Werner couldn't say when a groundbreaking might be held, especially when they haven't chosen a family for the site.

Lacie Cottrell, Arvest, represented the Arvest Foundation at the event and she explained why the local Habitat for Humanity was chosen for a donation.

"It was an important need we came across, a need we could help with," she said. "We live here, we work here, it's our community. There was the need."

The board finds ways for the foundation to give back to area communities and in this case, the decision was made to fill the gap with housing in Neosho.

The Arvest Foundation supports local organizations who do outstanding work to improve quality of life in their communities in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

In Neosho, Habitat for Humanity has been building homes for the last twenty years.

"The first two are now paid off," Werner said. "When completed, this house will be number 15."

He noted that the lot is large enough to hold two homes eventually.

Werner also outlined the requirements for families who might want to apply for a Habitat house.

"They can't be able to qualify for a traditional loan through a bank or mortgage lender. They must currently live in sub-par housing and most have suffered some bumps along the road. It can take a year from the time of application to selection. It's a hand up, not a hand out and it is a partnership."

Approval by the family selection committee is just the beginning of the process.

Families must be willing to invest hundreds of hours of 'sweat equity' by participating in building the home. Then, they are responsible for paying a no-interest loan back to Habitat for Humanity over a 2-30 year period. Those funds go in turn to build more homes for other families.

Volunteers pitch in to help families complete the homes.

Information about applying or volunteering can be found on the group's website at

www.neoshohabitat.org or visiting the Facebook page.

"Thank you so much for what you do," Cottrell said after the Arvest Foundation donation had been made. "I know the work you put into it, giving back to the community where we all live, work, and serve."