Almost 700 new houses built, almost 900 families served, five neighborhoods under development, 25 years — happy anniversary, Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity.
What a charity — and it is a charity, but not the way some people think. Central Oklahoma Habitat has been among the top homebuilders in Oklahoma City for a decade (thanks to Habitat's growth as well as the fact that most builders are low-volume companies).
First, to clear up any misconceptions: People who move into Habitat homes do not “get them free.”
What they get “free” is the loan. No, they do not get the loan money for free. They do get the loan at zero interest. The loan is free, not the money. They do take on mortgages and they do pay them. That was worth spelling out.
Here's the mission statement:
“Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry working in partnership with God and the community to build simple, decent, affordable housing, and to provide hope for responsible, hardworking, limited income families living in substandard conditions.”
That's worth spelling out, too, once in awhile — like now, in celebration of a quarter-century of service, all of it with Ann Felton Gilliland in the lead, first as a volunteer working in borrowed church space, for years now as CEO, the past two years in still-new office-warehouse-workshop space at 5005 S Interstate 35 Service Road.
Further, as it says at www.cohfh.org: “At Habitat we work in partnership with families, not for them, in the spirit of the Christian principles that guide our lives. In our partnership, there are tasks that both parties agree to do. For example, Habitat agrees to sell a new home at no profit and with no interest charges. No down payment is charged. In return, Habitat families agree to maintain their homes and diligently make their monthly mortgage payments on time.”
Also important to know: “Primary support is received from individuals, corporations, foundations, churches, and civic groups. Habitat secures its administrative costs through earned income. All cash contributions received go directly toward the construction of Habitat homes. Central Oklahoma Habitat is not a United Way agency.”
Central Oklahoma Habitat has developed five neighborhoods where it is building houses: Hope Crossing, NE 83 and Kelley Avenue; Las Rosas, SW 26 and High Avenue; Faith Landing, on County Line Road between SW 44 and SW 59; Wagner Lake Estates at Mustang Road and Wagner Lake Road in Yukon; and Shelliebrook Estates in southwest Blanchard.
In addition, Central Oklahoma Habitat has a home repair program and two stores that sell mostly donated building supplies: Renovation Stations at 1800 N Broadway Ave. and 2805 SW 29, open weekdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
It's worth going over on the 25th anniversary. Well worth the ink and server space. Godspeed, Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity.