O'Fallon Progress

O’Fallon street renamed in recognition of Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity O’Fallon Chapter Board members Lloyd Soeters, construction chair, and Jimmy Campbell, vice chair receive a street sign from Mayor Herb Roach.
Habitat for Humanity O’Fallon Chapter Board members Lloyd Soeters, construction chair, and Jimmy Campbell, vice chair receive a street sign from Mayor Herb Roach.

Because of the extensive investment and redevelopment in the Carson-Behrens neighborhood by Habitat for Humanity, the city of O’Fallon has officially renamed one of two Elm Streets to Habitat Way.

Jimmy Campbell and Lloyd Soeters were on hand to receive the new street sign from Mayor Herb Roach at a recent council meeting. They are with the O’Fallon chapter of the Lewis & Clark Habitat for Humanity organization, one of 49 state affiliates.

Campbell said there is a large and growing need for decent, affordable housing in our state. Habitat believes in the value of home ownership, both for Illinoisan families and for the communities in which they live.

Started in Illinois in 1999, Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization made up of volunteers who build homes, communities and hope. The homes are for families in need who also meet certain qualifications.

“Habitat for Humanity, in cooperation with the community and future homeowner, has built four homes in the area around Carson and Behrens Streets,” Roach said. “Renaming Elm Street as Habitat Way is the least we can do to show our respect for this great organization and the work they do.”

In May, the city changed the Elm Street between Behrens Drive to the east and Carson Drive to the west to Habitat Way. With the city’s recent annexation of the Carson-Behrens neighborhood, the city then had two Elm Streets.

To avoid confusion and eliminate the redundancy, the name change was suggested. No property owners were inconvenienced. The Elm Street near South Walnut Street is not renamed and will remain Elm Street.

The first O’Fallon Habitat chapter home was built in 2013, and a fourth home was built this year.

To be considered for a Habitat home, prospective owners must meet certain qualifications and must qualify for assistance with financing, provide 200 sweat equity hours during the build, and take classes on home ownership and home repair at a local community college.

Funds collected through donations and fundraisers are used to build the homes. Supplies are sourced from local business donations.

Habitat for Humanity of Illinois is the state support organization dedicated to eliminating substandard housing through its affiliates in constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions.

Founded in Americus, Ga., in 1976, Habitat for Humanity was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, durable place to live in dignity and safety, and that decent shelter in decent communities should be a matter of conscience and action for all.

Habitat for Humanity of Illinois has an open-door policy: All who believe that everyone needs a decent, affordable place to live are welcome to help with the work, regardless of race, religion, age, gender, political views or any of the other distinctions that too often divide people. In short, Habitat welcomes volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds and serves people in need of decent housing regardless of race or religion.

In Illinois, nearly 1 in 3 are now considered poor or low income, an astounding statistic. Based on the US Census American Community Survey (2010), median household income today is $52,972, down over 3% from the recession (2009) and 7% from before the recession (2007).

The O’Fallon chapter will sponsor its annual 5K on Oct. 27. They have rebranded it as the Howling Habitat 5K. They are in need of sponsors and participants.

For more information, call the Collinsville office at 618-343-0301 or visit the website: ofallonhabitat.org