Local Habitat for Humanity building its first home in Clovis

Karen Banister, second from left, looks at the new plans for her house Wednesday at 917 Hinkle Street in Clovis. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By Leslie Radford: CNJ Staff writer

Tears flooded Karen Banister’s eyes as she dug the shovel into the dry dirt at the location of what will be her new home at 917 Hinkle St.

There were family members, ministers, city representatives and community volunteers gathered at the home-site Wednesday morning for a groundbreaking ceremony for the first home in Curry County to be built by Habitat for Humanity of Curry and Roosevelt Counties.

“I keep pinching myself,” said Banister, a widowed mother with two of her 13 natural and adopted children still at home. “It’s like a dream.”

Banister was selected through an application process, according to Habitat coordinator Joyce Davis. Headed by a volunteer contractor out of Albuquerque, construction on the four-bedroom project is scheduled to begin today and is expected to be completed in 12 weeks, Davis said.

“We’ve never built a home that fast,” she said. “But we should get it done by Aug. 6.”

Habitat for Humanity is a private, non-profit universal Christian housing ministry founded in 1976 by Millard Fuller. According to the local Web site www.habitatrcc.com, “Habitat’s mission is to eliminate poverty housing from the earth.”

Volunteers for their current project consist of a group from the City of Clovis, various health and church organizations and individuals from the Clovis and Portales communities.
Clovis Community College and Habitat volunteer student Becky Helphenstine will help the family’s transition and hopes this allows them a fresh start.

“This is my first project with Habitat for Humanity,” she said. “I can only imagine that this is a blessing to the recipients of this new home.”

Banister, who currently lives in a rented home outside the Clovis city limits, and two of her daughters — one a junior in high school and another is a third grader — will live in the 2,000 square-foot home that will have handicap access with wheel chair ramps and hand rails. Banister said she suffered a spinal injury several years ago and sometimes has to use a wheel chair or cane to get around.

The land for the home was donated by the Eastern Plains Housing Corp.