Casebier grateful for new Habitat home after long process; organization modernizing its builds

Hayli Casebier stands in her new home with Jeremy Stephens, executive director of the local Habitat for Humanity chapter. | Photo by Ryan Richardson

Hayli Casebier was all smiles on Wednesday afternoon as she stood in her new home on West 5th Street. The 27-year-old Owensboro resident is the latest person to complete the local Habitat for Humanity program, putting in hundreds of hours of work on his way to owning a brand new home. Casebier’s is also the first local Habitat home to include two bathrooms, as the organization strives to modernize its builds and provide residents with more design options.

Casebier previously lived in a two-bedroom apartment with her two children. She then saw an advertisement for an opportunity to go through the Habitat for Humanity program, of which she has been a part for 3 years now.

His new home was originally due to be completed last year, but delays due to the pandemic have slowed the process.

“It was quite a long journey, but a lot more ups and downs,” she said. “I’m super excited to finally be here. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for for 3 years.

Casebier will live in the house with her two children. She signed the closing documents on Wednesday and a groundbreaking ceremony will take place today at 4 p.m.

Like all program applicants, Casebier had to put in 350 hours of sweat before he could move into a Habitat home.

Sweat equity includes spending time helping out with all parts of the building process. Casebier said she helped build houses, dig trenches, build frames, paint, garden, collect cans, and more.

“I actually put in my hours pretty quickly, in a year and a half, because I wanted to make sure I could get here,” she said. “I think I did everything but mow to get my hours of sweat equity.”

Habitat executive director Jeremy Stephens said figuring out which candidate will go to which house requires some coordination because there are several variables involved – from when a candidate finishes their hours, to the houses available, to each person’s preferences. .

“It varies from person to person and where we fit into each individual scenario,” Stephens said. “It really depends on what’s available at the time and what they’re looking for, whether it’s location of schools, accessibility to grocery stores, or access to public transit. .

Casebier had three houses to choose from, but said it was an easy choice. Two of them weren’t her style, she said, and the one she chose made her neighbors a friend who also recently graduated from the Habitat program.

“I wanted to be by Hannah,” Casebier said. “We helped each other throughout the program. I think if we hadn’t met, we probably wouldn’t have made it here. We really pushed ourselves to do it.

Hannah Crite moved into her Habitat home in June. It was technically the 150th house on Habitat’s construction schedule, but was completed before the 149th because it was actually built largely by the Home Builders Association of Owensboro.

Stephens said Habitat teams could tell the two women had a strong friendship as they progressed through the program.

“They really wanted to be neighbors because they got along well,” Stephens said. “I can tell you that I saw frame after frame after frame of the process (of completing their hours), and they were still there together.”

Both houses were historic in their own way. Crite’s was Habitat Local’s first-ever solar-powered home, while Casebier’s is the first to have two bathrooms instead of one.

“We’re really trying to modernize what we do,” Stephens said. “We try to match our building style so that affordable housing… can also mean accommodating homes. We don’t think building a one-bathroom home gives them resale value if the owner has to move out later. We want to give them that equity power in the house.

Stephens said homeowners also have more choices about what they can put in the home when it comes to options like fixtures, paint and appliances, as well as information about how the house should look. front of the house and on the parking lot. the situation is.

“We’re really trying to give people more options so that when they go through this arduous process, it’s really their chosen home that’s perfect for them,” Stephens said.

Casebier said she was grateful to the Habitat team for always pushing to make sure she ended up in her home.

Although the difficult parts of the process can be daunting, Stephens said fighting to succeed is why the Habitat program works.

“It doesn’t work because it’s easy. It works because it’s not easy, actually,” he said. “The more you put in, the more you get out.”

Casebier added, “And the more you appreciate your own home.”

About Wanda Reilly

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