KILLEEN, TX — Habitat for Humanity is known for working year-round in the community to build and restore homes throughout the area. The Ft. Hood Area Habitat for Humanity has recently been focusing its revitalization efforts on North Killeen through the Hammering with Purpose initiative.
“We've already impacted 16 homes in North Killeen already. This next Friday, we're going to take on five more, likely seven more homes,” said Ken Cates CEO and Executive Director of the Ft. Hood Area Habitat for Humanity.
"From Temple to Copperas Cove, the Ft. Hood Area Habitat for Humanity is Hammering for a Purpose," Cates said. "It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do."
“The homeowners that occupy their homes, I mean, they're just, they're in tears, in most cases,” said Cates.
Think of it as a little facelift. It’s an effort to spruce up the homes in own their back yard.
“Every community needs some help. In Killeen for an example, this is an awesome opportunity for that. They have money that's available for us to be able to assist these homeowners that meet certain criteria, obviously, but we felt it’s necessary to initially impact Killeen because that's where we're headquartered, and that's the area that needs the most focus right now.”
With help from code compliance officials in Killeen, they identify areas that need a little extra love.
“Through a partnership with our code enforcement or code compliance teams across our area, they help us identify a lot of these neighborhoods that need that assistance. Just to be able to bring their homes back up to code refresh the home overall. So, it's an actual opportunity for them to age in place, and have a much healthier environment for that home,” Cates said.
The work Cates and his team does all year round also has a long-lasting impact on the community, according to Dr. Robert Tennant, Professor of Economics at A&M Central Texas.
“It prevents them from having issues with code enforcement so that they maintain their value or improve their value economically, and they're also safe to live in.”
Whether it’s cutting the grass, repairing fences or some paint here and there, it’s improving the quality of life.
“It leads to less of a gentrification of neighborhoods. Instead, it helps rehabilitate them, so that people who live there can continue to live there, and a better quality of living. The advantage of having an organization like Habitat for Humanity come in, is they actually work with people who are going to either live in those houses or currently live in those houses to help lift people up from one level to the next level, of society,” Tennant said.
It’s a hand up not a handout, that sets the foundation for a better life and a sense of pride.
Cates said, “We're giving the pride back to the homeowners, and even those landlords that just need that extra assistance that helps them get started, get that basic spark back into that revitalizing that neighborhood.”
Preparations to start hammering for a purpose is already underway in the city of Belton. Cates said volunteers and sponsors are always welcomed.