HABITAT

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JEFFERSON CITY- The end of May brought devastation for Jefferson City, and simultaneously, severe flooding. The end of January, however, marks hope.

The need for affordable housing has grown since last spring and so has the 'all hands on deck' approach. Jefferson City Public Schools and the Nichols Career Center has partnered with the River City Habitat for Humanity in building 10 homes in the area now. Tuesday marked the start of another.

"Today we are doing a kickoff for one of our latest builds," Susan Cook-Williams Executive Director of the River City Habitat for Humanity said.

This "kickoff" entails blessing the home before the start off the build. The family is joined on the foundation of their home by friends, family, volunteers and sponsors to write words of encouragement and blessings to the family on the wood framing.

Williams said only four homes out of 50-60 applicants are built a year through an application process the organization has in place. Nichole Rapier, the future owner of Tuesday's build, was one of four chosen through this year's application process. She had doubts her dream of being a homeowner would become a reality.

"I didn't think I was going to get it," Rapier said. "The time was dragging from the beginning and I was like, 'Is this going to work out? Is this not going to work out?' because you have to go through so many steps."

While Rapier isn't hands on in the project, she said it's rewarding to drive by the home and see the progress being made from the ground up.

"You get to put in the work for the house," Rapier said. "You get to know people, you get to meet people, other people change and influence your life. It's just a really cool program."

Rapier's home is set to be completed by June.

River City Habitat for Humanity is now accepting applications for next year and will select four new families to enter the program and receive homes in 2021. A homeowner informational class will be held Saturday, February 8th, with applications due by Friday of the following week. Anyone interested in the program is encouraged to attend the class, or download the application at www.rivercityhabitat.org

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