The River City Habitat for Humanity is nearly doubling down on its regular home builds this year after the tornado that struck Jefferson City last May.
"When the tornado hit we knew we needed to do something in addition to what we normally do - so we decided to do this Blitz Build," said Susan Cook-Williams, the River City Habitat for Humanity executive director. "We're building four additional homes near Jackson Street to be able to help tornado survivors and rebuild the affordable housing market in Jefferson City."
Construction on the four houses is expected to happen from June to September. Cook-Williams said they're planning to build Monday through Saturday for four months straight.
"It helps our communities, they pay taxes just like anybody else, property tax, insurance, it improves the neighborhood so its an all around good deal for everybody," Cook-Williams said.
River City Habitat for Humanity has been around since 1933 and has helped build 113 homes in Jefferson city.
The program serves families who make 30-60% of the median income in Cole County.
One neighbor we spoke with was looking forward to welcoming a new home on West Ashley Street.
"I'm absolutely excited for the development in the neighborhood, it's great for everything around here," said Andrew Buchanan, who lives near the location for the new Habitat for Humanity home.
The new home owners will help build their new house along with volunteer contractors from around the community.
"I think its great we have several of them (Habitat for Humanity homes) around here and its good for the community," Buchanan said.
Families must apply for the program and show they have a need for affordable housing. Families must also have the ability to pay and the willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity. Once they are deemed fit for the home by the Habitat for Humanity officials, families purchase the home at 0% interest for a 25-year mortgage.
The River City Habitat for Humanity has to collect $400,000 to build the additional four homes and Cook-Williams said they're a little over half way there.
On average, the organization builds five homes a year in the city and usually builds a home in 9-10 months, but with Blitz Build they pursue an accelerated build and will try to get the homes up in four months.
One of the new homes scheduled to be built on 415 East Ashley Street, is designated as the official "Mayor's Build" home. On May 22, the anniversary of the tornado, the organization is having an event at the location of the new home with Mayor Carrie Tergin.
According to Captain Justin Windell,an administrator for The Salvation Army in Jefferson City, since the tornado, their 31-bed shelter has been completely full every night.
"Poverty can be generational but so can home ownership," Cook-Williams said. "If we can teach people to be homeowners and give them that opportunity then it helps them in so many other different ways."