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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Columbia city officials say they hope an energy-efficient home will be a model for future low-income housing projects.
Habitat for Humanity is building the "net-zero" home, which includes solar panels and a solar water heater, low-flow plumbing fixtures and LED lighting.
It's the first time the organization has built such a home, which also has 45 percent more insulation than previous homes. The home also will be completely accessible to the disabled.
About a year ago, the city asked non-profit organizations to submit designs for energy-efficient homes that low-income families could afford.
The Columbia Missourian reports the house will sell for $107,000. It is expected to be completed in late spring or mid-summer next year.
 
Published in Local News

   GRANBURY, Texas (AP) — Habitat for Humanity spent years in a North Texas subdivision, helping build many of the 110 homes in the low-income area. But its work was largely undone during an outbreak of 16 tornadoes Wednesday night that killed six people and injured dozens.

   On Thursday, authorities combed through debris in Granbury, while residents awaited the chance to see what was left of their homes. Witnesses described the two badly hit neighborhoods as unrecognizable, with homes ripped from foundations and others merely rubble.

   Granbury, about 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth, bore the brunt of the damage. The National Weather Service's preliminary estimate was that tornado had wind speeds between 166 and 200 mph. Other tornadoes spawned from the violent spring storm damaged nearby Cleburne and Millsap.

   "I tell you, it has just broken my heart," said Habitat for Humanity volunteer Elsie Tallant, who helped serve lunch every weekend to those building the homes in a Granbury neighborhood and those poised to become homeowners.

   Hood County Commissioner Steve Berry said Thursday he couldn't tell one street from another in Granbury's Rancho Brazos Estates neighborhood because of the destruction. Half of one home was torn away while the other half was still standing, glasses and vases intact on shelves. Trees and debris were scattered across yards, and fences were flattened. Sheet metal could be seen hanging from utility wires.

   The weather service said the preliminary storm estimate for the Granbury tornado was an EF-4, based on the Fujita tornado damage scale. An EF-5 is the most severe.

   Of the homes in the Rancho Brazos Estates, 61 of them were built by Habitat for Humanity, according to Gage Yeager, executive director of Trinity Habitat for Humanity in Fort Worth. He said most of those homes were damaged, including at least a dozen that were destroyed.

   Raul Rodriguez was among the lucky few: His Habitat for Humanity home was still standing. The 42-year-old mechanic rode the storm out in a closet with his wife and three children. They heard the windows shattering outside but realized their fortune when they emerged to see a heartbreaking scene.

   "Injured people, bloody people, started coming to our house, asking us to call 911," said Rodriguez, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than two years. He assessed his own home, finding only shattered windows, lost roof shingles and a collapsed garage.

   "My neighbors to the right, they lost everything," he said.

   Habitat for Humanity homes, built for low-income buyers using volunteer labor and donations, are financed with affordable loans. The nonprofit selects homeowners based on their level of need, willingness to become partners in the program and ability to repay their loan. Homeowners invest their own time into building the homes as well.

   Habitat for Humanity volunteer Bill Jackson said the damaged or destroyed homes were insured and can be rebuilt. But that doesn't alleviate Tallant's pain. She'd gotten to know the people who had waited for years to become homeowners.

   "We were going to dedicate a house this weekend, and her home was destroyed," she said.

   Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds said Thursday afternoon that two of the dead were women and four of them men; one man and one woman in their 80s.

   "Some were found in houses. Some were found around houses," Deeds said. Six or seven people have not been accounted for, he said at a news conference.

   "I'm very confident we'll find those people alive and well," Deeds said, adding 37 injured people were treated at hospitals. "We're going to keep looking. We're not going to give up until every piece of debris is turned over."

   Harold Brooks, a meteorologist at the weather service's severe storm lab in Norman, Okla., said May 15 is the latest into the month that the U.S. has had to wait for its first significant tornadoes of the year. Brooks said he would expect 2013 to be one of the least lethal tornado years since the agency started keeping records in 1954.

   Earlier Thursday, about 20,000 homes and businesses in the region were without power. By the evening, it had dropped to nearly 3,500 homes and businesses.

   Another tornado cut a mile-wide path through Cleburne on Wednesday, storm spotters told the National Weather Service. The weather service said it was estimated as an EF-3, which has winds between 136 mph and 165 mph.

   Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain said Thursday morning that no one was killed or seriously hurt in the city of about 30,000 some 25 miles southeast of Granbury. Nine people suffered minor injuries, and upward of 150 homes were damaged and another 50 were destroyed.

   Cleburne resident Derrek Grisham, 26, said he ran to his mother's home to check on her and his 10-year-old son, who was staying with her.

   "I had to kick in the front door to get them out," he said, explaining the two had taken shelter in a bathtub.

   On Thursday, he went through his mother's damaged home, salvaging items before the home is likely torn down. The roof had been ripped off and he said her belongings were a jumbled mass, but crosses had stayed in place on the living room wall.

Published in National News

After a break-in at one of their building sites, Habitat For Humanity reached out to the public to help recoup their losses. And one company stepped up big time.

Workers here at Home Depot on south Hanley loaded up trucks with over $13,000 dollars worth of tools and construction materials, replacing every item that Habitat for Humanity listed as stolen. The break-ins happened in the Carondelet Neighborhood earlier this week.

Kimberly McKinney, the CEO for Habitat for Humanity St. Louis, was overjoyed by the community willing to help, "This is pretty incredible. As they rolled the tools out, I got a little teary, and I don't even know how to use most of this stuff. Really, really an incredible day. The generosity fo Home Depot and the St. Louis community has been incredible."

Now thanks to those donations, a scheduled Habitat for Humanity Mother's Day build is back on track. About 60 women volunteers are coming together on Saturday to build houses for the less fortunate.

Published in Local News

A charity is asking for help after they were victimized by a burglar. 

In one week, Habitat for Humanity was burglarized in the Carondelet neighborhood two separate times, with the suspects taking around $15,000 worth of tools.

The organization is now asking for help to replace their stolen tools. Instead of giving tools, Kyle Hunsberger, director of construction, says money is the most helpful donation. He also says there is something else the community can do, "It goes without saying, don't buy tools from somebody that rolls up in a pickup truck and says they have a really good deal."

Anyone interested in helping, can donate at habitatstl.org

Anyone with information on the burglaries is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 866.371.TIPS

 

Published in Local News

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