Family receives Habitat for Humanity’s first two-story home in Garland County

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At the eighth annual Habitat for Humanity Heels to Hammers event, a family of six received Habitat’s first-ever two-story home in Garland County.

The Habitat team, which started on the house on October 4, ended Thursday around noon. Partner organizations and volunteers will continue to work on the house in the coming weeks.

Each year, the Heels to Hammers program encourages women of all skill levels to help build a home for a local family, assisting the organization’s veteran builders. Men are also welcome to volunteer for the event.

The family moving into the house, located at 505 Grove Street, consists of a single mother and her five children.

“Habitat has a matrix that they use to determine which children can share rooms,” said Cindy Wagstaff, executive director of Garland County Habitat for Humanity. “And it happens to be the first family that has the dynamic that every child needs to have their own bedroom.”

According to Wagstaff, it is more cost effective to build a second floor than to build outside.

“So she’s in a three-bedroom house with her five kids,” she said. “And because it’s so small, it’s considered substandard housing, so we’re putting her in decent, affordable housing.”

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With every Habitat for Humanity home, recipients are required to pay an interest-free loan. These homes are currently selling for between $90,000 and $110,000 in Hot Springs. Proceeds from mortgage payments are allocated to future Habitat homes. This particular house is expected to cost around $160,000.

Habitat for Humanity raises all funds for the homes locally through the county’s three ReStores, donations and mortgages from beneficiaries. The Garland County office currently holds 110 mortgages.

To qualify for one of these homes, a family must meet the following three criteria: they must earn 30-60% of the area’s median income (adjusted for household size); possess a willingness to get involved with their own “sweat equity”; and need housing.

Building sponsors include Window Mart, Lowe’s Home Improvement, First Security Bank, Karen Garcia, Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, National Park Medical Center, Relyance Bank, Simmons First Bank, ReMax of Hot Springs Village, State Farm-Ike Eisenhauer Agency, McGraw Real Estate Agents and Express Employment Professionals.

Lunch and coffee were provided by Diamond Bank and Kollective Coffee + Tea.

The volunteers included a group from the National Park Medical Center, McGraw Realty and various banks.

“Heels to Hammers is actually a really great way to introduce women to a non-traditional role in construction,” Wagstaff said. “A lot of these ladies have never wielded a hammer, and so they’re learning how to wield a hammer, they’re chopping wood for the house. Our regular team has a fantastic time giving instructions and teaching the participants.”

A volunteer installs a house wrap during Habitat for Humanity’s eighth annual Heels to Hammers build. – Photo by Lance Brownfield of The Sentinel-Record
Photo Habitat for Humanity volunteers begin laying the top floor of the first two-story Habitat home in Garland County Thursday morning. – Photo by Lance Brownfield of The Sentinel-Record
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