Hill said Tri-County has built more than 80 homes over the past nine years in Pontotoc, Coal, Johnston, Murray and Garvin counties. She said the program provides nice homes and the owners usually love their homes.
“It is a process, and they have to go by rules, and some of them don’t really like the rules,” Hill said. “...It is explained to them what they can and cannot do, and some of them try to do otherwise.”
Brittany has been diagnosed with microcephaly, which means the circumference of her head is smaller because her brain has not developed properly or has stopped growing, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders. She also has cerebral palsy, which limits her muscle coordination.
After Brittany graduates from high school, Melton will serve as her full-time caregiver.
“If she graduated in a couple of years, I will be at home caring for us because she’s in a wheelchair and in diapers and requires complete total care,” Melton said.
Over the past year, Melton has raised money to help care for Brittany by selling braided necklaces at sport tournaments and other events across Oklahoma. She used money that she raised to buy land for $20,500 where the house sits nearly completed.
Melton continues to sell the necklaces and save the money to ensure she will have enough set aside to provide for her daughter once Brittany graduates and Melton can no longer work, she said.
Melton said she is not alone in the issues she has faced with the home-building program. Other families have come forward and alleged similar complaints, she said.
One of those families includes Ada resident Jennifer LeFlore’s sister, Shawna Stettler. After Stettler’s home was built through Tri-County, she noticed issues with her attic ladder and a lack of insulation in parts of the attic.
They also found that weep holes, which are placed in a home’s foundation to help drain water, were not properly installed, which she worried could lead to mold if water couldn’t properly drain, LeFlore said.
“I just want her to get the things fixed on her house,” LeFlore said. “I think my sister’s main concern is this needs to stop. It’s a great program if it was ran correctly. It’s amazing to not have a down payment and have your payments adjusted over the past 33 years. It’s a good thing to have a self-help program because she did get to put some perspective in it and have some pride it.”
Even though Melton’s home is outside Ada city limits, it still falls under the jurisdiction of the state of Oklahoma’s minimum building code.
Jeff Click, immediate past president of the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association, said the Oklahoma Legislature passed a law a few years ago that requires builders, regardless of their location, to meet the minimum state building code.
“While the state of Oklahoma does not currently require licensing for home builders, it does require that homes be built to a recently-implemented state code, currently based on the 2009 International Residential Code,” Click said. “This code must be the minimum standard adhered to by builders and contractors regardless of any governing municipal or county governing body’s jurisdiction. This helps set a minimum standard that even rural homes must be built to, and it is advisable that all consumers in these areas confirm that the builder of their choice builds to this standard.”