In roughly 83 hours, D.R. Horton Inc., along with 30 local contractors and suppliers, built an entire house for one hard-working family.
On Oct. 25, Sussex County Habitat for Humanity finished up its Home Builders Blitz in Ellendale. The goal was to build an entire home from scratch in five days. A group of different professionals from all over the region got together, clearing the challenge in less than four days.
The main purpose Habitat for Humanity had for the project was to reward a candidate for their hard work. The receiver of the home, Yonta Clanton, was not lucky. Her name was not pulled from a hat. She was dedicated, helping Habitat for Humanity work on other homes and preparing for her own home ownership by attending various classes.
The time constraint created by the Builders Blitz was for a different reason: to garner attention for the cause.
“This helps us raise awareness about the need for affordable housing,” said Kevin Gilmore, executive director of Sussex County Habitat for Humanity. “It’s not every day that a group of builders come together and coordinator such an incredible effort to actually build a house in four days. It gets people’s attention.”
Affordable homes are becoming difficult to find for moderate and low-income families. In Sussex County, approximately one in seven residents spend more than half their income on housing. This creates a struggle to afford every other necessity, such as food and healthcare.
Meanwhile, land scarcity and restrictive building laws have made constructing affordable homes more difficult for builders.
Habitat for Humanity looks to combat that, with the newly built home being one of 20 in that specific community. Those homes, indistinguishable from the surrounding houses, are financed for owners with no-interest mortgages. The owners help with other houses, too, donating time and effort in order to further the cause.
Gilmore said, “We believe in a world where everyone has a decent place to live. This house brings us one step closer and one family closer to fulfilling that vision. Habitat, in a nutshell, is a hand up, not a hand out. It’s to help people get over that edge that may not normally find that opportunity.”
Brian McManus, director of construction at D.R. Horton, has now led five Habitat Blitz Builds, with two in Sussex County. He said, “I love how everyone works together and is interested in partnering with such a great cause as Sussex Habitat for Humanity. And I love seeing the homeowner’s reaction as they see their dream home come true.”
Clanton’s reaction was as expected. She and her family were elated and excited throughout the entire week. She’s seeing her hard work pay off.
“It’s every American’s dream to be a home owner,” Clanton said. “I can’t wait to have my first holiday here with my family… They were all so kind and did such a wonderful job.”