Construction supervisor Bill Generali hands Dana Johnson the keys to her new home Saturday in Temple. The house was built by Bell County Habitat for Humanity.

Bell County Habitat for Humanity has provided safe, affordable, modest housing to disadvantaged families in the Bell County area for nearly 20 years with the help of United Way and other sponsors.

The faith-based nonprofit organization works with families who want to own a home but are not able to receive financing through conventional ways such as going to a bank, said Stephen Church, executive director of Bell County Habitat for Humanity.

“Interested parties apply, then are reviewed by a family selection committee to see if they’re good prospects to eventually become partner families,” Church said. “Selection is based upon their ability to pay, credit score and the need, such as if they’re living in substandard or unsafe housing.”

Selected partner families must perform a minimum of 300 hours of sweat equity and 100 hours of construction on someone else’s house before building their own.

Homes are built within four to six months through volunteer hours from partner families, local churches, Fort Hood service members, local businesses and civic groups, Church said.

Families receive a 15- to 30-year non-interest bearing mortgage on an Energy Star efficient home with all new appliances, following an approved inspection

Earlier this month in Temple, the agency completed its 66th home since becoming an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International in 1994.

The Fort Hood area agency receives allocations from both United Way of Central Texas, sponsoring homes in the Temple and Belton area, and United Way of Greater Fort Hood, for building properties in Killeen.

This year the agency received a total of $28,000 from the two programs, making up 9 percent of their annual sponsorship, Church said. The funds help offset the costs of building the homes.

Without United Way’s donations, the agency would be struggling to find other resources, Church said.

“Dollars are harder to come by these days even though we’re coming out of an economic downturn. It’s nice to know we have a funding source we can apply to and have a long-standing partnership with.”

For information, call 254-680-4007 or go to

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