HELENA – Helena Area Habitat for Humanity is getting ready to take on a major expansion to its program in 2018.

The organization is planning to build five homes in Helena next year, compared to the one or two homes they usually build annually, through a grant from the USDA.

“They’re really successful programs in Great Falls and Butte, where they’re building over ten homes per year,” explained Helena Area Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Jacob Kuntz.  “It’s a way for us to increase the number of homes we’re building.  In 2018 will be the first group that we’re building, it’ll be five homes, in 2019 we’re going to build seven.”

Through the Mutual Self-Help Program, which supplies the grant, Habitat for Humanity is not only planning to build more homes but also planning to help with repairs.

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Kuntz said they will mostly focus on roof work and wheelchair ramps.

He said between the expanded efforts to help existing homes in need of repairs and the additional homes being built, it’s a step towards creating much-needed housing in the Helena area – and helping families get more financially stable, as well.

“It’s not just solved through single family housing, we need a spectrum of attention that’s been placed to multi-family housing, to housing issues,” said Kuntz, “to helping families manage debts, deal with debt, to address issues of credit.  Those are the types of services that we’ve started to work on and we’re identifying the partners in the community that can help us to accomplish those goals.”

Kuntz said Helena Area Habitat for Humanity will be accepting applications for next year’s new home builds until Oct. 15.

Even if families don’t qualify, he hopes that their expanded work with other local agencies will help get more families prepared to be accepted in the future.

You can hear Kuntz explain more about the commitment process above.

The greater number of homes being built will also require more Habitat for Humanity volunteers.  Click on the link to their website to learn more about volunteerism opportunities and for the home application process.