Tyler team helps with Habitat build across from Heekin Park
By Rick Yencer
MUNCIE, IN - Clares Burke pounded in the nails with the skill of a carpenter as the latest house built by Greater Muncie Habitat for Humanity took shape on Memorial Drive across from Heekin Park and its neighborhood fire station.
Burke generally handles claims, payroll and other financial accounting in the Muncie city controller's office. On Friday, she joined Mayor Dennis Tyler and about 30 other city officials and employees who took the day off to help Habitat build another new home for those in need.
Tyler generously donated his time and that of officials who wore blue Tyler Team shirts that were able to frame and side the new house in his a day.
Jena Ashby, program director, said the benefactor of the latest home was a single parent in need of affordable housing. The family has been working on the house too and expects to more end by the end of summer.
Habitat uses exclusive volunteer labor and materials to build houses for those in need. In recent years, the group has built over 100 homes in inner city neighborhoods with hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours and contributions.
Terry Whitt Bailey, who runs Muncie' Community Development agency, lauded the effort as she worked along side firefighters, police officers and other city officials to frame and side the house. A couple of brief showers stopped work along with lunch, served by other volunteers, but all the work showed a new structure where a vacant lot and foundation stood the day before.
The need for affordable housing is great, despite millions in entitlement funds and other federal subsidy for housing in Delaware County. Community Development spends about $425,000 yearly for affordable housing, whether it is new or renovated.
And Bailey said Habitat continued to lead volunteer efforts when it comes to housing by getting the community involved in helping those in need, Ashby said the group could always use more help and had three other projects like the one at Memorial Drive and Hackley Street.