By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
In 2000, Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity built the first of what would end up being 15 Habitat homes in Yukon.
When that last home was finished in 2013, it was the 700th dedicated by Central Oklahoma Habitat.
Fast forward to this week, when Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity marked another milestone. The nonprofit Christian housing ministry has built 1,000 affordable homes in the metro area over the past 30 years.
Gov. Kevin Stitt was the featured guest speaker for the March 9th celebration at Habitat’s Legacy Estates development south of Wilshire at Council in northwest Oklahoma City.
Central Oklahoma Habitat is the seventh largest Habitat affiliate in the U.S.
“That speaks to the heart of service among Oklahomans,” Stitt said. “I can’t wait to be here for the 5,000th home!”
The governor talked about how Central Oklahoma Habitat has helped “hard-working families realize their dream of home ownership.”
Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, Christian housing ministry that provides eligible partner families with decent, safe and affordable places to live.
Gov. Stitt credited longtime Central Oklahoma Habitat CEO/Chairman Ann Felton Gilliland for her “unwavering dedication.”
Having Habitat in her life has been a “great blessing” for Gilliland, who was beaming with pride during Monday’s 1,000th home dedication.
“We’ve all been excited over the last couple months getting ready for this day,” she told the crowd. “This is a very special time for all of us.
“At Habitat, building a home is more than building a structure. It is building a life on the word of God.”
Gilliland gave the house keys to the newest Central Oklahoma Habitat homeowner, Brittani Githiri, who has two young sons.
“Welcome to our Habitat family,” Gilliland said. “I mean that with all my heart.”
Among gifts presented to the Githiri family was one from the Edmond Board of Realtors – a “Welcome” mat to serve as a reminder that every great achievement begins with one step.
Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt, who attended this week’s celebration, called the 1,000th home dedication an “amazing milestone” and expressed his immense gratitude “on behalf of the people of Oklahoma City.”
“There’s no question, Habitat changes lives,” Holt said.
And many more lives will be positively impacted because of the “ripple effect” Habitat will have across generations living in these quality homes, he noted.
YHS GRADUATE LEADS
Yukon has 15 Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity homes that were dedicated between 2000-13.
The first seven Yukon homes were built in the early 2000s during one- and two-week community “blitz builds.” The last eight Yukon homes were constructed a decade later in the Wagner Lake Estates Addition.
Since the mid-‘90s, Central Oklahoma Habitat’s construction manager has been Yukon’s Aaron McRee. A Yukon High School graduate, McRee works with volunteers, contractors and suppliers to ensure each Habitat home is well-built.
McRee described the 1,000th home dedicated this week in the Legacy Lakes development.
The house is 1,250 square feet with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a two-car attached garage.
“It is 100 percent brick, with a geothermal ground source heat pump and class 4 impact resistant roof shingles,” McRee said. “The home is part of OG&E’s positive energy program, and utility bills will be low.”
Partner families purchase Central Oklahoma Habitat’s energy efficient houses at cost through 0 percent mortgage loans. Besides the no interest loans and low utility rates, these families benefit from homeowners’ insurance discounts.
Homeowners invest 300 hours of their own labor (“sweat equity”) into building their Habitat house and the houses of others.
“We’re really pushing home ownership,” Gilliland said. “Applicants complete background and criminal checks and we want to make sure they’re able to maintain their properties and make their house payments.”
Habitat houses are sold to partner families at no profit and financed with the 0 percent loans. Homeowners are selected based on their level of need, willingness to become partners in the program and ability to repay the loan.
Existing homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments are used to build still more Habitat houses.
Through volunteer labor and donations. Central Oklahoma Habitat welcomes volunteers from all faiths, or no faith, who actively embrace Habitat’s goal of eliminating poverty housing from central Oklahoma.
Habitat builds houses in central Oklahoma using volunteer labor, donations, its mortgage base, and proceeds from sales at Renovation Station stores.
Learn more by calling (405) 232-4828 or visiting http://www.cohfh.org.