Greater Tulsa Reporter
BEFORE AND AFTER: On the morning of Aug. 18, construction workers began work on building a new home at 2522 E. 5th Pl. in the Kendall Whittier neighborhood as part of “Open the Door in 24,” a 24-hour complete home build event, a project by Tulsa Habitat for Humanity, the Home Builders Association (HBA) Charitable Foundation, Silvercrest Homes and additional community partners. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom, one-garage home was completed the following morning.
EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers
In an effort to redevelop the Kendall Whittier neighborhood, Tulsa Habitat for Humanity and local community partners, including the Home Builders Association (HBA) Charitable Foundation and Silvercrest Homes, held “Open the Door in 24,” a 24-hour complete home build event starting the morning of Aug. 18.
By 8 a.m. on Aug. 19, volunteers had transformed an empty lot in the Kendall Whittier neighborhood at 2522 E. 5th Pl. into a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, one-garage home that will serve as a model for future Habitat for Humanity homes. The home is also one of the first Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) Fortified Homes in the state of Oklahoma. The IBHS Fortified Home program offers disaster protection and strengthens homes from hurricanes, high winds, hail and severe thunderstorms.
“With Tulsa Habitat for Humanity’s new target group, we’re excited to play a role in offering a new source of housing option,” says Peter Grant, president of HBA Charitable Foundation. The foundation has partnered with Tulsa Habitat for Humanity for 15 years.
Tulsa Habitat for Humanity made the decision in January to focus specifically on providing new homes in the Kendall Whittier neighborhood, with the help of various local partners, says Tulsa Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Cameron Walker.
These partners include George Kaiser Family Foundation, which is focused on directing various needed resources to the area, such as economic development, health care and public safety; and Growing Together, a local nonprofit with the mission of improving the quality of life in Kendall Whittier.
Tulsa Habitat for Humanity’s goal is to transition Kendall Whittier into a mixed-income community. “By intermingling various incomes in a neighborhood, it brings a change in dynamics to the area, and it’s a more just and effective way to redevelop,” Walker says.
The completed home will serve as a model home for Tulsa Habitat for Humanity for 18 months until a Kendall Whittier Elementary teacher is identified to purchase the home.
“We have an intentional focus to reach out to Tulsa Public Schools and its schools in the Kendall Whittier area,” says Walker.
As another partner, Tulsa Public Schools is helping to identify teachers who qualify for HUD assistance who are willing to live near the schools in which they teach.
“Research shows that when teachers live in the community where they work, their relationships with parents and students are better, which leads to better student academic outcomes and greater family success,” he says.
A few months ago, Tulsa Habitat for Humanity placed its first TPS teacher in a home in the area.