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29th Howell Co. Habitat for Humanity home under construction


The latest Habitat for Humanity build is underway on Walker Street in West Plains, the 29th home built for qualified partner families in West Plains and Mtn. View. The home is owned by Carmen Huddleston and Josh Clinton, with their sons Gabriel Huddleston, 18, and Michael Clinton, 4.

Habitat For Humanity of Howell County was chartered in 1993 as West Plains Area Habitat For Humanity. The now-global Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 in Americus, Ga., to provide safe, affordable housing, and has since expanded worldwide. An estimated 600,000 houses have been built since, with 3 million people sheltered as a result. 

The work is done by volunteers and licensed construction professionals, and includes at least 250 hours of “sweat equity” by the partnering family. Other work, like title services and surveying, is donated by professionals. Most of the work is done on Saturdays, but contractors may also work during the week.

The work on the most recent Habitat house is led by contractor and Habitat for Humanity of Howell County Construction Coordinator James Wheeler. 

Partnering families also agree to classes in basic home maintenance and insurance, and personal finance.

Habitat for Humanity is nonprofit and was founded and operates on Christian principles of putting “God’s love into action by building homes, communities and hope,” but emphasizes that families and volunteers are selected “regardless of race, religion, age, gender, political views or any of the other distinctions that too often divide people.”

Some of the requirements of potential homeownership are a willingness and ability to make a monthly payment on a 30-year no-interest home loan made to them by Habitat for Humanity, to contribute with volunteer hours and to meet income guidelines according to family size.

Many Habitat homeowners also feel personally invested in their home, having helped carry the lumber, hammer in nails and been involved during all phases of the construction. Having lived in homes that may have been difficult or too expensive to reasonably heat or cool, overcrowded or simply unsafe, most families are grateful for the security that homeownership provides. Some had rented for many years with little to no assurance their housing needs would be met in the long-term, at a cost they could afford. 

Likewise, Habitat for Humanity, by providing a long-term housing solution, encourages investment in the larger community by enabling families to stay where they are, in a home they can be proud of, for many years to come.   

The estimated move-in date for the Huddleston-Clinton family is early fall, hopefully September, says Executive Director for Habitat for Humanity of Howell County Threasa Ryan. Once the house itself is finished, there will be finishing touches like yard work to be done, she added.

Ryan took the helm as executive director in 2018, and one house a year has been completed since then, including a house that was rehabilitated rather than built from the ground up during COVID-related restrictions.

The builds are funded by Habitat for Humanity ReStore sales, donations and house payments from previous Habitat builds. The next build will likely take place next year, Ryan said.

Donations may be made directly to ReStore, located at 1109 Porter Wagoner Blvd., or volunteers will come pick up items, including appliances that are ready for recycling. The organization also takes donations of aluminum cans, and cash contributions are also welcome.

To volunteer, or for more information on becoming a Habitat partner family, call the store at 417-256-8246. 

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