Habitat home to benefit Cabot veteran

By Emily Van Zandt Originally Published December 30, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated December 28, 2012 at 11:33 a.m.
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— As part of Habitat for Humanity’s ongoing Habitat for Heroes program, Habitat of Faulkner County is set to build a home for a veteran in need in the Cabot area.

The land, at 619 Briarwood in Cabot, was donated to Habitat in April from an Iowa-based company.

“They called and said they had some property in Lonoke County,” said Shenel Sandidge, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Faulkner County. “At the time, we showed up as being the closer Habitat, even though, currently, the Pulaski County Habitat covers Lonoke County.”

The property, which has already been cleared, is just less than 2 acres. Though only one house is being planned for now, the property could eventually hold two Habitat homes.

As part of the “Habitat for Heroes” program, applications for the home are being accepted from military veterans currently living or working in Lonoke County who meet the income requirements. Active-duty service members are ineligible, Sandidge said, because of how often those families have to move.

Although Sandidge originally opened the application process in July, she received no applications.

“We’re still looking for applicants for our military build,” said Sandidge, who will reopen the application process after the holidays and will keep it open until several applications have been received. Those interested in applying can contact Habitat of Faulkner County at (501) 513-3244 or go to www.habitatfor

humanityfaulknercounty.com.

Habitat is also in search of volunteers to work on what will be the area’s first Habitat for Heroes build.

“We would like to invite volunteers, local companies, veterans’ groups and all other civic, corporate or Christian groups … to join us in making the dream of homeownership a reality for our deserving veterans by donating your time, talent and treasures,” Sandidge said.

Because the build site is far from Habitat of Faulkner County’s offices in Conway, the group plans to hold several Cabot-area fundraisers and recruit volunteers from nearby to cut down on travel time.

“We’re going to do a community-type fundraiser and community involvement, even using some of the military bases for recruitment,” Sandidge said.

Habitat also recently opened applications for a military build in Conway and has begun repair projects in veterans’ homes in the Faulkner County area through a partnership with Home Depot. Sandidge hopes this work with the military will help bring awareness to some of the issues veterans face when they leave service.

“A lot of military families with a family member retired or just coming out of service struggle with that veteran having a hard time finding a job or having to take a job with less pay,” said Sandidge, whose husband is a veteran. “Overseas, they get incentives and more money through hazardous-duty pay. … Many times when they come back to civilian life, they fall within low-income status.”

Sandidge will reopen applications for the military build in Cabot on Tuesday with the hopes of having applications in by March 30. Once selected, future Habitat homeowners must go through a series of classes and interviews before construction on their homes can begin. If applications are received by the end of March, construction on the Cabot home could begin as early as June.

“Just as our nation’s veterans have fought to preserve our freedom and strengthen our country, Habitat for Humanity of Faulkner County moves to strengthen and preserve the opportunity for our military-associated residents to have affordable housing.”

Staff writer Emily Van Zandt can be reached at (501) 399-3688 or evanzandt@arkansasonline.com.

Staff Writer Emily Van Zandt can be reached at 501-399-3688 or emily@syncweekly.com.

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