Kokomo Habitat volunteer gets new home of her own

A car sits halfway in a basement at a leveled home near Home Avenue and Hoffer Street. (Kokomo Tribune Photo, file/Kelly Lafferty)

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) — After helping build four houses and putting more than 200 hours into volunteering for the Kokomo Habitat for Humanity, Rachel Lisby is getting a new home.

Lisby stood amazed as more than 65 volunteers from 10 area churches hammered away Saturday morning, putting up the framework and attaching walls to her soon-to-be three-bedroom home at 1921 S. Bell St.

As part of the qualification process, prospective homeowners must put in at least 250 hours of “sweat equity” before construction can begin on their home.

The build called the Apostles Build brought members of Bible Baptist, Christ Lutheran, First Church of God, First Church of the Nazarene, First Congregational, Oakbrook Community, Macedonia Christian, Chapel Hill Christian, St. Joan of Arc and St. Patrick congregations together to give Lisby a home of her own, the Kokomo Tribune reported.

“I was in a sticky situation and ended up at the Women’s Domestic Violence Shelter,” the 31-year-old mother of three said.

“I came to Kokomo in a van and they took us in. I spent 30 days in the shelter and they introduced me to the Habitat for Humanity,” said Lisby. “Since then, everything took off.”

Lisby is now working for Bona Vista and is getting back on her feet.

The house sits on a lot where a house was destroyed during the Nov. 17 tornadoes. The lot was donated to the Kokomo Habitat for Humanity by the former owners, Mark Sloss, executive director of the Habitat for Humanity of Kokomo, said.

Sloss said a neighbor across the street, who’s also having his house rebuilt due to the storm, let the group tie into his electricity since the power remained off at the build site.

“Everybody is helping out — it’s tremendous.”

Lisby also was amazed at how many people came out to help build her new home.

“This is wonderful, all the support,” she said as church members finished putting up the north wall of the 1,200-square-foot house.

“There’s so many people here. It’s awesome. This is a wonderful community. That’s what drew me here — the support in this community.

Lisby said since she’s been in Kokomo, she also joined the First Church of the Nazarene and was saved June 1.

“I feel God does have a plan for me.”

One of the volunteers, Nancy Phillips of the First Congregational Church, was more than happy to spend her Saturday helping out any way she can.

“I’m glad to see so many people coming together and working together. It’s awesome,” she said, looking around at the progress. “Hopefully, everything goes all right.”

“I’ve been hammering in nails and helped put the frame up,” she said. “I’ve built things around the house, including a shed, but I’ve never been involved in such a big project.”

Behind the house, Mona Swinehart, a member of Christ Lutheran Church, picked up trash and debris for the workers.

“This is my first time with Habitat,” she said. “My husband does it all the time. It’s a amazing how fast the walls have gone up.”

By 11 a.m., the group had the inside and outside walls up and began cutting out the windows and doors.

Across town, Habitat volunteers continued putting the finishing touches on the Woman’s Build on North Wabash Avenue, Sloss added.


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