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Habitat for Humanity Pours Foundations for Next Two Marble Falls Homes; Volunteers Needed

A Mancha Concrete crew pours and works concrete donated by Lauren Concrete at a Highland Lakes Habitat for Humanity building site on Avenue M in Marble Falls. Habitat for Humanity is working on two homes at the location, adjacent to one previously built. The organization builds low-cost homes for families through community support and partnerships. Go to hlhabitat.com to volunteer or learn more. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

UPDATE: Due to recent rains and more possible rainfall, Highland Lakes Habitat for Humanity has canceled its work day Saturday, Sept. 15. Officials hope to have a work day at the Avenue M site on Wednesday, Sept. 19, starting at approximately 7:30 a.m.


MARBLE FALLS — A good home starts with a good foundation. In the case of two Highland Lakes Habitat for Humanity projects, it took a community effort to get the foundations poured.

“It’s taken a whole mix of in-kind donations, support, and just the community helping out to get us here,” said Fraser Gorrell, the local Habitat for Humanity project manager. “The city (of Marble Falls) has been great in working with us. It’s just a community effort.”

Gorrell stood back and watched as Pete Mancha’s crew from Mancha Concrete worked in another load of concrete donated by Lauren Concrete for the porch area of one of the two homes on Avenue M. He, Mancha and his crew, as well as Lauren Concrete workers, arrived well before dawn Sept. 6 to pour the foundations for the two homes.

“We just need to get this one poured,” said Gorrell, referencing the porch of one home.

The crews had already poured and worked in about 20 yards of concrete that Lauren Concrete had donated for the two foundations.

“We don’t do the concrete work; it’s just too risky," he said. "Having (Mancha and his crew) do this is a big help. And Pete’s pretty much donating the work.”

Lauren Concrete’s contribution comes to about $2,000 worth of concrete.

Habitat for Humanity has already chosen the two families for the homes. Work is scheduled to begin Wednesday, Sept. 19. (It was originally set for Sept. 15 but was postponed due to weather.) The start date on the second is possibly later this fall.

Since Habitat for Humanity relies heavily on volunteers for the bulk of the work, it usually means building one project at a time. (The organization uses electricians, plumbers, and other specialists for those areas volunteers can’t tackle.)

“If we can, we’ll try to do some work on both, but we’ll focus on this house first,” said Willie Reinders, president of Highland Lakes Habitat for Humanity. “When we decided to do the foundation, Pete said it just made sense to do them both at the same time since he’d have his crew here already.”

Habitat for Humanity builds low-cost homes for qualified families, but it doesn't just give them to the families. A family must provide a certain number of hours of work on someone else's Habitat for Humanity home before construction starts on their own. Then, they must also work on their home.

Habitat for Humanity offers an interest-free, 20-year mortgage to the family.

Both of these homes will have three bedrooms, two baths, and 1,232 square feet. Though identical in floor plans, Gorrell said each will be personalized a bit.

These two homes came with a unique challenge for Habitat for Humanity officials. Unlike the home already built beside them, these two are in the flood plain.

This is an area where the community effort really shined.

“When we acquired this piece of property, we knew the first lot wasn’t in the flood plain,” Reinders said. “We had to end up rallying a lot of support for these other two homes.”

The city worked side by side with Habitat for Humanity as did others to design and engineer the two homes so they could be built in the flood plain in a way the owners wouldn’t be forced to purchase federal flood insurance each year. One alteration to the two latest projects is pouring foundations that will be above the flood plain.

Plus, Reinders said, they had to engineer the two lots so they didn’t negatively impact nearby lots in case of flooding.

(Community support) was really key to these homes because of the uniqueness of the projects,” he said. “Without all the support, these homes probably wouldn’t be affordable.”

But there’s still work to be done, and volunteers are always welcome. You don’t need to be an experience builder or even have any experience at all. Crew leaders will show you the ropes as you help build not just a house but a family’s home.

Go to hlhabitat.com for more information or to learn how to volunteer or otherwise support Highland Lakes Habitat for Humanity.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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