Bell County Habitat for Humanity opened its 65th home Saturday, handing over the keys to one Killeen family at a morning ceremony.
Earl Johnson, 46, smiled and thanked the crowd of family and volunteers who gathered in his new home on Carter Street in Killeen. The five-bedroom, two-bathroom 1,400-square-foot home was built with the help of volunteers and donated materials.
“It’s really a great place,” said Johnson, who will be sharing the home with his six children, ages 13 to 18 years old. “We are very excited to start moving in.”
Steve Church, Bell County Habitat for Humanity director, said it took a little more than 2,200 volunteer hours to construct the home.
“Those volunteers were made up of a mixed group of people from a number of different organizations,” said Church, who came to the Bell County Habitat for Humanity from the Houston area about four months ago. “They all worked very hard to make this day happen.”
That group of volunteers included Johnson and his family, who not only put in hours building their own home, but donated their time to work on other Habitat homes as well. According to the Habitat for Humanity website, an applicant for a home from the program must contribute at least 300 hours of volunteer time, or “sweat equity,” to the nonprofit.
“I worked on other homes, but this is the first dedication I have been able to attend, and it’s my own,” he said.
The Johnsons’ new home also came with a fully stocked pantry, thanks to First United Methodist Church of Killeen and the Greater Vision Community Church-Killeen.
“It’s just a fantastic feeling to hand someone the keys and know that the community came together to help make that happen,” said Church.
Bell County Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that provides affordable, energy-efficient housing for low-income families.