A Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity home is constructed in the Lee Crossley Veteran Community in Temple.

The Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity organization is raffling off a brand-new truck to raise funds to construct houses for the 18 families who have been approved through their program.

Tickets to compete for the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport contributed by Lift Kingz sponsors and custom wrapped by Wrap Professor are currently on sale for $25 each or five for $100. The drawing for the raffle is on Sept. 6. Last year, Anthony Cabrera won a 2020 Jeep Rubicon in the raffle.

In 2019, the Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity organization which services Coryell, Lampasas and Bell counties built 14 homes, completing the Lee Crossley veteran community in Temple. The community has a total of 26 homes and a community center, according to Kristin Hannibal Smith, director of finance and human resources for the organization.

“Veterans have 24-hour access to laundry facilities, a full-sized kitchen, pool table, television, food pantry, exercise rooms, and business office space,” Smith said. “And we host events there for the veterans. It’s a really nice, fully furnished facility.”

During the pandemic, construction projects through Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity were halted, due to the inability to safely have community volunteers and qualified applicants work in large numbers on site.

“When COVID hit, it stopped a lot of the volunteers we have to build and work at the ReStore,” Smith said of the Habital ReStore in Killeen. “We were not able to build — it can’t happen without the volunteers.”

Although the cost of lumber and freight provide ongoing obstacles to providing economical housing options to families in need of homes, Smith expressed her gratitude and excitement to be able to get back to serving the community through construction and repairs.

“We’re not funded through Habitat International or federal funding — we rely on donations,” Smith said. “We rely on the community and our volunteers — it’s what keeps us going.”

Families with low-to-median income are eligible to apply to build and purchase a Habitat for Humanity home, according to Anna Ruhlman, family services coordinator for the local branch of the organization.

“There’s a screening process they can complete in person or on our website,” Ruhlman said. “We serve people who fall within 30 to 80 percent of the median income for the area.”

First, families working toward purchasing a home through Habitat for Humanity contribute a designated amount of “sweat equity,” helping build homes for other families or working in the Re-Store shop, Ruhlman said. Once their sweat equity is complete, they work alongside volunteers to help construct their own home, which is sold to them under the appraised value, at an affordable mortgage rate with zero-to-1 percent interest rate, Ruhlman said. The payment amounts and duration of the loan are calculated based on the income of the family, she said.

“We have a similar program for home repairs,” Ruhlman said.

On Oct. 30, Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity will kick off Project Playhouse fundraiser sponsored by local businesses to build playhouses for anyone in the community who applies for one. Businesses can sponsor and construct one playhouse for $2,000 or two for $3,500. The sponsorship fee covers the materials for the playhouse, which Habitat for Humanity Pros help construct, and the proceeds go toward building materials for the 18 families working toward owning their own homes. Last year, 10 sponsors built 14 playhouses, raising one third of the needed funds to build one house, according to their website.

For more information about the raffle, donations, sponsorship, or to apply to purchase a home, call 254-392-2345 or visit www.fhahfh.org.

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