FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - A brand new neighborhood is coming to Fort Wayne, but it’s not any average subdivision. Every home will be built by Habitat for Humanity. Construction started Thursday and will continue for the next five to seven years. They decided they wanted to celebrate the groundbreaking in a unique way, so they are building three houses in just eight days
Fort Wayne Habitat partnered with a national group called Blitz Home Builders for the project. More than a hundred volunteers from across the country are spending the week building the houses from scratch. They paid their own way to the Summit City, and have traveled from as far away as California and Massachusetts. Roy Zaborowski has been involved in the Blitz Home Builders for 17 years. He and his wife came from Phoenix to spend the week volunteering in Fort Wayne.
“There’s a whole change of events that happens when you have a solid family unit, and it’s all good. We say it’s not a hand out, it’s a hand-up, but it really is a bit both because it relieves the immediate situation and it makes life better. Everything transforms as a result of building these houses,” said Zaborowski.
He’s traveled as far away as Hawaii to build houses, and said there’s a need for affordable housing everywhere.
“The need for low-cost affordable housing is not just in Fort Wayne. It’s not just in South Bend or Madison, Wisconsin. You’ll find the need in Cape Cod, and Vail, Colorado. You’ll find it in Santa Barbara, California. This housing need is just everywhere, and it doesn’t matter where we go,” said Zaborowski.
Families don’t just show up and get the keys once the project is complete. They help build it themselves. In fact, they are required to put in 100 hours on the construction of their house, as well as their neighbors’ houses. Cathy Sitcler is spending the week doing just that, and said the program has completely changed her outlook.
“It’s a whole, brand new start. It’s a brand new life and just endless opportunities. A year ago, I would’ve said there’s no caring people and everybody’s out for themselves. It’s just not a factual statement. It’s all over. I was just too blind sighted to see and trapped up in my own world. People do care and it shows right here,” said Sitcler.
Sitcler started in the Habitat program less than a year ago, and is now helping build her house and the other two involved in the eight-day blitz.
“I suggest everybody get out of their box and look around because there’s some amazing things taking place. Everybody always wanted to leave Fort Wayne growing up and now I’m saying stay, stay right here and build a community in Fort Wayne,” said Sitcler.
Habitat for Humanity has been around for nearly thirty years, but this is the first neighborhood in the area that’s exclusively made of Habitat homes. There are around 115 lots going into Fuller’s Landing. The idea came from an affiliate Habitat chapter in Nashville.
“It’s been about a two-year journey to get to this point and moving dirt and fundraising and getting families that wanted to call Fuller’s Landing home,” said Fort Wayne Habitat for Humanity CEO, Justin Berger.
Berger said Habitat for Humanity’s focus is to build simple, decent, and affordable homes by bringing people together to build homes, communities, and hope.
““It’s about our community, it’s about changing the way affordable housing is viewed in the area and serving as many people that need to be in affordable housing as possible. With these houses going up and Fuller’s Landing finally breaking ground on these first three homes, this is really that vision coming into fruition of what community might mean for Fort Wayne and Allen County,” said Berger.
There are more than 100 volunteers helping at the eight-day blitz. Habitat for Humanity predicts there will be thousands more throughout this year. To get involved with Fort Wayne Habitat for Humanity and even help build homes in Fuller’s Landing, click here for more information.