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KC North organization builds house for woman facing nursing home

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A faith-based organization in the Northland is partnering with needy folks to build and rehab houses they can call home. The Fuller Center for Housing is a national group, started by one of the co-founders of Habitat for Humanity.

The Fuller Center built one house for a disabled woman who faced going to a nursing home because she couldn't find an affordable place to call home.

One of the distinctive differences for the Fuller Center's home building program is the partnership the group has with new homeowners. Whether they are poor, elderly or disabled, those who are going to live in the house must contribute to its construction.

"I tried to do some P.R. work," said Lorie Perdieu, whose limited mobility restricts her to a wheelchair. "I went and spoke at a couple of events for the Fuller Center. They're real creative in how a person can commit and partner with the Fuller Center. I think that's great. They think of ways for you to be able to help, even if you can't."

Another house the group is currently building should be finished by October. And the family who will move in just saved about $3,000 dollars in labor costs by showing up on a Sunday and installing the roof themselves. That will help enable them to buy the house for less than $100,000, when otherwise it would probably retail for about $125,000.

"Zero interest, zero profit homes that are built in partnership with families, low income families that need a decent place to live," said Graham Houston, president of the Fuller Center for Housing KC. "We do these projects when they make themselves available. In this case, someone called us and donated the land and we just kind of went from there. It's been a great project."

The Fuller Center sells each home it builds for the cost of construction only. The group doesn't make any money on what it builds. As a result, members are constantly raising money to complete their projects. One Northland home still needs about $20,000 worth of work, which the group is trying to raise.

By actually working to help create the place where you will live, the Fuller Center believes it helps make home buyers into better homeowners, because folks have more of a stake in keeping up what they have helped to create.

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  • Ben

    If someone can afford to buy a home for $100,000, I don’t think they need any help. There are too many people who need a place to live and there are many homes in foreclosure that are available for less than $50,000. If someone doesn’t want to live in a part of the city that provides the lower cost homes, that is their decision; but they should not expect help buying or building an expensive home because they want to live in suburbia.

  • Lauren Rodriguez Celestin

    Although these families are having homes constructed within these estimated price ranges, one cannot assume that they would be able to afford a comparable home on the market. The Fuller Center has made it possible for many families in need ( yes, they have to prove there is a financial need) within the Kansas City area to become homeowners. With help from the community, local clergy, and the potential homeowners themselves as they are required to put in so many hours of labor on the house to help offset the cost, these families are able to have an opportunity to become homeowners. Furthermore, while there are plenty of houses on the market currently in foreclosure, there are just as many people who either don’t qualify for the loans necessary to purchase the home, or would have to move to an area that might not be as desirable to live in. As to the location of the home, they are just as entitled to live in the area of their choosing as you or I, whether that be within city limits or suburbia. Regardless of socioeconomic status, everyone has a right to live in an area in which they feel safe.

  • Chris Johnson

    Note, they said “less than $100,000.” It’s actually much less. Also, The Fuller Center has a program called Save a House/Make a Home, where banks and others donate foreclosed properties that are in dire need of repair and are then restored into safe, decent homes by Fuller Center volunteers and filled with good families. Virtually every Fuller Center home is in the lower-cost end of each city.

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