LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Two lucky families in Livingston Parish are getting a new start thanks to some dedicated hammering and sawing from volunteers.
"Both are single moms, both have three kids, and this will be the first time either one of them has owned their own home," said Tamar Danel, executive director of Ginger Ford Northshore for Housing.
The Fuller Center is looking for donations, such as building supplies and volunteers. Call Tamara Danel at 985-507-0732 or email email@example.com for more information.
"Fuller Center Disaster Rebuilders is building a house for a woman whose home flooded during the great flood of 2016 and we are building a house for another family who was just living in substandard housing," Danel explained.
Leaders of this effort say it's not a handout, but a hand up to the road of independence. "We don't give these houses away," Danel said. "Families work for them and they pay us back on terms that they can afford."
With all the discounted or donated materials and labor from volunteers like Quad Area YouthBuild Program and the Livingston Young Professionals coming in, it keeps costs at a minimum for the future homeowner when it's time to pay their monthly mortgage. Volunteer, Tiara Wilson, with YouthBuild says this is her second home to help rebuild and it's a rewarding feeling. "Not only do you get, but you can also give at the same time. It's good to see someone else smile from something you did," she said.
"Everybody needs a path forward and that's what we're looking to help out with," said volunteer, Jamie Seal, with Livingston Young Professionals. "If we can get a young family in a home, that's going to help them succeed further in life,"
"These families will pay the Fuller Center back for the cost of the materials that went into the house at basically about $400 a month until the house is paid off," Danel explained. The organization then uses that money to continue building homes for families in need. The recipients of the homes are also required to work 350 volunteer hours.
Leaders say this program, which includes an 8-week homeowners education class on finances and home maintenance, is about giving a boost to those overlooked and helping them establish a new way of life.
"We want them to become responsible homeowners. We want them to know what it means to balance their budget and pay their house note before they go out and buy a buy a big screen TV or a fancy car," Danel said. "We're just doing everything they can to help their families save money and to spend their money wisely."
Construction on both homes began in June. The plan is to have both families in their homes within the next two months. The Ginger Ford Northshore Fuller Center for Housing, based in Hammond, has been working in the community for ten years and recently started serving the Livingston Parish area following the August 2016 flooding. Fuller Center Disaster Rebuilders, based in Denham Springs, has repaired homes in New Jersey, Biloxi, and Texas.
The Livingston Parish Young Professionals will partner with both groups and volunteer on July 20.