Underinsured families affected by the devastating May tornadoes may have a new option when it comes to getting into a new home.
Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity announced Tuesday that it is capable of building 400 homes for those who lost theirs this past spring, and Habitat for Humanity CEO Ann Felton Gilliland said the organization has made it easier for affected families to qualify and get started on building a new home.
The organization does background and credit checks on applicants, but there is no fee to apply, and it takes less than a week.
Normally, Habitat requires families to put in 300 hours of work, or sweat equity, on their own home or other projects to qualify for a home, but the organization has lowered that to 50 hours for tornado victims.
Gilliland said these homes will be special “blitz builds” that can be finished in as little as four weeks, as opposed to 12 to 14 weeks for a normal project.
Habitat builds energy-efficient homes with 0 percent interest loans and down payment assistance, according to a news release from the agency.
In addition to features Habitat normally offers like fenced backyards and appliances, homes built for tornado victims will also include storm shelters.
This is not the first time Habitat has helped rebuilding efforts after tornadoes. The organization built 70 homes following the May 3, 1999, tornado, and Gilliland said she wants to do more this time.
“We're larger now, and we feel we can assist more families,” she said. “We want to help as many as possible.”