Habitat for Humanity continues to build homes for those affected by 2019 Jefferson City tornado
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
May 22 marks the four-year anniversary of a tornado that ripped through Jefferson City.
Following the monstrous tornado, Habitat for Humanity lent a hand to families who lost their homes, and continues to do so four years later.
River City Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Susan Cook-Williams said the organization has built eight homes in the area since the tornado hit in 2019.
Williams said the organization is currently building a home for a veteran that was delayed for numerous years, but finally began in January of this year.
Williams said it does not give away the homes, but rather sells it to home-buyers at a 0% interest rate. Williams also noted that Jefferson City has always had a housing problem, which the tornado made more blatantly apparent.
"I think the tornado just ripped off the bandaid and made more people aware," Williams said. "And we're still seeing the after affects and until we all come together and solve the problem, it's just gonna be like a snowball that just keeps rolling down the hill."
Akisha Pinnell-Walls and her family bought and had a home built for them by Habitat for humanity in 2019 after their home was destroyed by the tornado. Walls said it took about 13 months for their new home to be re-built. During this time, they moved between hotels and apartments, which Walls said did not meet their standards. She attributed this to being the main reason why a new home was so special to her family.
"I was unhappy there... then when Susan said we got this house and we worked towards it and we moved in that was the biggest sigh of relief and blessing we could ever be thankful for," Walls said.
Walls also noted that the organization has helped her family in ways that exceed merely building them a home.
"They not only helped us with this house, they helped us mentally," Walls said. "I'm a big mental health fanatic so being apart of habitat they weren't only just friends, they're not just a company, they become family."
Walls and her husband Reggie also noted that their new house is within the same neighborhood as their old one, which made the move that much more meaningful.
"He blessed us better than where we were living before like, yeah it's bigger than the house that was over there. I'm not even talking about that, I'm talking about the whole aspect of everything, we own. We were just renting you know," Walls said.