Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–For hardworking families trying to make ends meet, sometimes it takes just a hand up for them to move from renting to owning their own homes. Since about 1998, Muscatine County Area Habitat for Humanity has worked to provide that hand up, partnering with local families to help them build homes for them to own. Throughout the build process, the partner families provide some of the labor needed to build the house, and also receive education on how to finance and maintain their home, helping them confidently step into their role as new homeowners. As Muscatine County Area Habitat for Humanity leader Don Lampe put it, “if they’re successful, then the community is successful.”

April 11, Habitat for Humanity broke ground for their 12th house. Since then, work has progressed steadily, with a mix of volunteers and professional contractors working diligently to create a foundation, laying the floor, putting up the walls, and even putting up the roof. Getting this work done has required the help of may volunteers, including teams from KENT Corporation, HNI, and Phelps. Local contractors, including the Henley Group, Nelson Electric, Chamberlin Heating and Air Conditioning, and Kirk Butcher Plumbing have stepped in or will lend their assistance soon, taking care of some of the specialized jobs that volunteers often do not have the experience to do. “It’s been really good to see the community step forward and businesses step forward and support our project,” observed Lampe, who hopes to have the whole house completed by Christmas.

Though work has progressed at a steady pace, Habitat for Humanity still needs more volunteers, from individuals to corporate groups, to take care of some of the upcoming projects, including hanging drywall, putting up molding, painting, and putting siding on the outside of the house. Volunteers can have any level of experience with construction and home improvement, as they can assist with numerous jobs, from doing hands on building tasks to assisting workers with simpler work like retrieving materials and holding boards level. “We can put everybody and anybody to work–all levels are welcome,” said Lampe.

Volunteers from Kent after working on the current Habitat for Humanity house at the corner of Oak and Seventh Streets.

If you would like to get involved as an individual, you may contact Habitat for Humanity to get an idea of their upcoming volunteer needs either by calling them at 563-263-7382 or emailing them.

Habitat for Humanity also welcomes support from businesses, either through monetary donations or through volunteer labor. To help form more positive relationships with local businesses, Habitat for Humanity joined the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “The main driver to join the chamber was to spread the word to the business community about Habitat for Humanity,” Lampe explained: “The business of Muscatine have always been very civic minded and gracious with their time and financial resources. Habitat for Humanity of Muscatine County wants to grow to provide even more affordable housing, and in order to do that we will need the support of the entire community, business and private citizens.”

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