It’s one thing to know the blueprint for your house.
It’s another thing entirely to build out that blueprint yourself — with the help of about a hundred volunteers, that is.
It was a Martin Luther King Jr. Day to remember for Antwone and Kaylee Sanders and Leticia Nunez, who with Wichita Habitat for Humanity assembled the framework for what will be their first houses Monday.
The Wichita charity hosted a “Day of Service” Monday that drew about 180 volunteers to Century II to assemble wooden frames for two houses, set to be completed this spring on-site near 12th and Estelle.
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By April, the houses will be energy-efficient three-bedroom homes of roughly 1,100 square feet — “a pretty modest-sized home, though it’s a great starter home,” said Ann Fox, executive director of Wichita Habitat for Humanity.
Though they are built on slabs, the homes feature a reinforced bathroom that serves as a storm shelter.
Both Nunez and the Sanders family rent space in less-than-ideal conditions now, they said.
“My kids share a bedroom and it’s just an older house — there’s no central AC,” Nunez said.
Antwone Sanders said his 1920s-era house “could really use some updating,” citing frequent plumbing issues.
Both future Habitat homeowners had to volunteer about 400 hours building homes for other people before they were given the chance to purchase their own Habitat home. They also have to complete about 40 hours of homeowner education classes before they are eligible to buy.
“A lot of people don’t want to do it because you have to put forth an effort to do it, but it’s so worth it to be able to own your own property and be a homeowner,” Antwone Sanders said. “It’s a really good feeling knowing my wife and daughter are going to be in a a really good atmosphere, a clean atmosphere.”
The recipients of Habitat homes purchase them essentially at cost with a zero-percent-interest mortgage.
Those homes are built on land that Habitat for Humanity owns, typically as infill to counter urban blight.
At Century II on Monday, 140 people had registered to volunteer in advance — including children as young as 10. An additional 40 walk-ups were put to work as well, Fox said.
Participants included a sizable contingent of teachers from Kapaun Mt. Carmel Catholic High School, who were taking a break from a teacher inservice day.
“We had an incredible volunteer turnout,” Fox said.
She said the “Day of Service” was particularly timely on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“Martin Luther King was an absolute advocate that people need to have their basic needs met, and there’s really no more basic need than shelter,” Fox said. “What better way to honor Dr. King than to serve?”