A home for Habitat: ECHH breaks ground on new facility

Jay Hinton
Stephenville Empire-Tribune

STEPHENVILLE — After 25 years, the Erath County Habitat for Humanity finally has a home to call its own.

On Monday, ECHH broke ground on a new 50-foot by 60-foot building with an interior office space of 864 square feet — a major upgrade over what it has used in the previous quarter century that consisted of utility trailers and other donated space from community and organization board members to use for meetings and limited storage.

Members of the Erath County Habitat for Humanity and friends celebrate the groundbreaking of the ECHH’s new facility Monday afternoon.

“Having our own office space is essential to our mission,” Stacy Morrison, president of the ECHH board of directors and building committee chair said. “We need office space to meet the needs of working with our families before, during and after we build their homes.”

Discussions concerning the new space has been ongoing for years, Morrison said, and it finally came to fruition.

“In some ways, COVID pushed it over the top,” Morrison said. “When businesses could no longer host us to meet with our families or for our board meetings and trainings, we knew we had to have a place of our own. In addition, we were presented an opportunity for a huge donation of materials. We had no place to store that donation, so we did not acquire that material.”

Stacy Morrison, president of the ECHH board of directors and building committee chair, addresses the crowd gathered for Monday's groundbreaking ceremony.

ECHH is also an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, and HFHI requested ECHH comply with obtaining its own space to “most effectively comply with governance regulations and policies and best business practices,” Morrison said. 

Throughout the years, ECHH has worked with more than 20 Erath County families and have given them the chance at homeownership with affordable house while ECHH holds their 0% interest mortgages. In addition to a $1,000 down payment and monthly mortgage payments, each homeowner family must invest 300 hours of sweat equity in building not only their house, but houses for others. 

“Erath County Habitat for Humanity exists because decades of dedicated, motivated people believe in the life-changing power of housing stability,” Morrison said. 

In addition to affordable, stable housing, the ECHH offers classes in financial literacy, and now the organization can hold those classes in its building rather than finding other locations. 

KJ Kim, current pastor of First Christian Church of Stephenville, offers a blessing during Monday's ceremony. Paul Ganther, previous pastor of the church, was instrumental in establishing a chapter of Habitat for Humanity in Erath County 25 years ago.

The new facility, which is located at 754 W. Sloan St., is being funded through monetary donations, fundraising and generous donors who offered supplies and services at steep discounts or free of change.

“It is gratifying and humbling to know this organization has worked with over 20 Erath County families throughout the years and has given families who might not have ever had the chance at homeownership a hand up with decent affordable housing,” Morrison said.

ECHH is all volunteer-led organization whose board members, committee members and volunteers put in hours of unpaid labor to run the organization and continue building a better community.

For more on Erath County Habitat for Humanity, find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ErathCountyHabitatForHumanity or online at www.erathcountyhabitatforhumanity.org/