A sense of community is running rampant on Luallen Lane off Rice Road.
Five families are coming together to build a community as part of the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program through Frontier Housing.
Mutual Self-Help Program is a way to help families and individuals in the area achieve home ownership.
Frontier Housing is bringing together households who will work together to build each others’ houses.
Frontier provides skills training, and support such as subcontractors who perform roofing, electric and HVAC skills, for example. Families don’t need construction experience, just a willingness to learn and a commitment to work 30 hours a week.
During the final day of NeighborWorks Week, June 1-8, work continued on four of the five homes under construction on Luallen Lane.
Known as Community Day, local leaders worked alongside families, members of Frontier Housing, and other volunteers under the watch of construction manager Paul Justice.
Harry Clark, Rowan County judge-executive; Cecil Watkins, Rowan County attorney; and Darrell Glover, District 2 magistrate; joined soon-to-be home owners Randall Craft and Tony Griggs, wielding hammers, nail guns and levels.
No family will move in until all five homes are completed.
Griggs, 25, says the project is more than just homebuilding but a chance to form lasting relationships with others.
“I’ve learned that this isn’t just another house,” he said, standing outside his three bedroom, two bathroom home painted in a bright blue, his favorite color. “It’s five houses built by five families who love each other. I consider them family.”
Tony’s late father Danny helped him frame the house before he passed away in May. “He wanted me to have a place to live forever,” he said.
He also takes inspiration from his late wife Samantha. “They are not physically here but with me in my heart,” Tony said. “We started this journey together.”
Tony’s first goal before starting the project was to get out of debt. “That’s the hardest thing I had to do,” he said.
“The project was really challenging at first, but toward the end I’m starting to see the final project. I'll finally be able to say I finished what I started.”
Craft, 31, says he’s breaking a generational curse with his kids that was started with his father.
“One of my goals when I got in recovery is to have a home,” he said. “I really dug into my finances and the people at Frontier really helped me.”
Craft, a director for Addiction Recovery Care, said the process has allowed him to learn trade skills while counting his blessings each day.
“This is the path God wants me to take. This is what I want to do. It will be hard but it will be a blessing in the end.
“I recommend this program to anybody,” he continued. “It’s work but you have to look at it that work and patience is worth it.”
Frontier Housing is part of the NeighborWorks America network, an affiliation of 240 nonprofit organizations located in every state.
Katie Watts, senior vice president, field operations for NeighborWorks, was in Morehead June 8 for Community Day.
“It’s wonderful to see families engaging with one another, building communities. Community is all about coming together to help one another,” she said.
At the end of the work day, Watts and Frontier’s executive director Tom Manning-Beavin talked about having such great support from officials and semi-skilled labor from homeowners.
“We love having the help and involvement from the community in what we're doing,” Manning-Beavin said.
For more information, call 784-2131 or go online to frontierky.org