- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 30, 2018

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) - There’s a house on Belvedere Drive that looks a lot different today than it did on Aug. 24, 2016.

Nobody was home that day over a year ago when an EF3 tornado destroyed the house - except for a small dog, who made it out just fine.

On Sunday, the house was officially dedicated as the 57th house built by Habitat for Humanity of the Kokomo Community - an organization that is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

“This is truly a blessing for me, me and my kids,” said Theresa Everett, who lives in the house now with her two sons, Corahn, 10, and Josiah, 4.

Everett said she moved to Kokomo around four years ago with almost nothing, and now she said she considers herself blessed to be the owner of the new home which she helped build herself.

“It was something different, you know - a great learning experience. I had never built a home before,” she said, adding that putting in that kind of hard work really helps a person to appreciate the fruits of the labor a bit more.

Everett was one of many people to put in an application to Habitat for an almost exclusively volunteer-built house. Robin Symonds, treasurer for Kokomo’s Habitat for Humanity, explained their process for applications - a process which has three requirements.

The first, Symonds said, is there has to be a need for housing - something he said can come in many forms, and is likely look different in each family’s unique situation. Second, the family must have enough income to purchase the house from Habitat, but “not so much that they could buy a house on a conventional basis.” Symonds explained the house’s come at a significantly discounted price, as the structures are constructed on an almost entirely volunteer basis. The only exceptions for the Belvedere Drive house were the dry wall and the driveway, he said.

Finally, the last condition was the family must be willing to partner with Habitat for Humanity and put in 250 hours of work for each adult in the family. The work can be on any house Habitat for Humanity is working on.

On Sunday, a ceremony was held in the house, which was constructed between April and December of 2017. Volunteers from Habitat for Humanity, a Christian organization, read passages from the Bible and a dedicatory prayer was said by Milton Hall Jr., pastor at Grace Memorial Church of God in Christ.

A short ceremony consisted of Hall going around to the rooms of the house with Everett, with him saying a pre-ordained dedication in each.

“Bless this living room, Oh God,” said Hall. “Give your blessing to all who share this room that they may be knit together in companionship. May all who live and visit here find peace and prayer as well as pleasure.”

A number of people filled the house for the ceremony, including Dennis and Becki Sweeney, who owned the house previously - when it was destroyed by the tornado - and later gave it to Habitat to Humanity. Dennis Sweeney said they had lived in the house for 16 years, and although it was tragic when it was destroyed, he said they were glad to see the tragedy turn into something happy.


Source: Kokomo Tribune, http://bit.ly/2BBfSjv


Information from: Kokomo Tribune, http://www.ktonline.com

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