TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Construction work began on Smith County Habitat for Humanity’s 112th home in partnership with First Presbyterian Church and the University of Texas at Tyler Capstone Construction Management Class for a qualified family.
East Texas News spoke with organizers as they worked towards building a home for a low-income family.
For 31 years, Habitat has helped families with low-interest mortgage affordable homes. Jack Wilson, the CEO of Smith County’s Habitat for Humanity, explained the importance of this program.
“We know that there are at least 20,000 individuals in Smith County who could qualify to purchase one of our homes just based on their income," Wilson said.
UT Tyler student Gemma Lunardi will be overlooking the project with her capstone construction management class. She said this project will help develop valuable skills prior to graduation.
“This is really exciting for all of us. The more hands-on experience that we can get, the better," Lunardi said. "We’re all graduating very soon in May 2021, so we’re wanting to get hired, so any more experience that we can get under our belt looks better for us.”
Lunardi is one of the few women involved in this project, and she described what it’s like to work on this home.
“So, it’s definitely a little bit intimidating," Lunardi said. "It feels really awesome to just be that woman in there that there’s no other woman in there that leads you. That’s my best way to describe it, putting your foot forward, wanting other girls to come and fill up that position as well and encouraging them.”
In celebration of the First Presbyterian Church of Tyler’s 150th year, they’re sponsoring this home.
“They’ve helped donate money to this particular build. So, everyone that you see back there are from First Presbyterian Church, and they’re going to be working on the job site every Saturday until we have this thing built and sold. That’s what makes it very special for us today.”
The project is set to be completed in the upcoming weeks.
Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization that makes homeownership possible for low-income working families.
For more information about the program, click here.