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Central Oklahoma Habitat Introduces First FORTIFIED Home at House Dedication

OKLAHOMA CITY, February 24, 2017 – The Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity affiliate (COHFH) and experts from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) today held a House Dedication to present the keys to a local family for the first FORTIFIED Home™–High Wind & Hail—Gold home in central Oklahoma. 

“Our communities in central Oklahoma continue to be hit by damaging high winds and hail, so we are pleased to partner with IBHS to build stronger homes for our families by implementing FORTIFIED Home™ superior construction standards and building practices,” said Ann Felton Gilliland, Chairman and CEO of COHFH. “We plan to build 45 FORTIFIED Home™–High Wind & Hail Gold homes during 2017 across Central Oklahoma.”

IBHS’ FORTIFIED Home™–High Wind & Hail building standards help homeowners strengthen their homes against low-level tornadoes and high winds at the edges of strong tornadoes, straight-line wind events, severe thunderstorms and hail storms. The FORTIFIED Home™–High Wind & Hail program provides a uniform, voluntary, superior set of building standards to help im­prove a home’s resilience by adding system-specific upgrades to minimum code requirements. The program has three levels of designation that build upon each level — Bronze (the roof), Silver (gable ends, chimneys and attachments like porches and carports) and Gold (continuous load path). IBHS research shows that property damage to homes from EF-0 and EF-1 tornadoes can be virtually eliminated if they are built or retrofitted using FORTIFIED standards.

“Oklahoma averages 69 tornadoes a year,” said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak. “While tornadoes are severe weather events that people cannot control, we can use the most advanced techniques to prepare for them. The COHFH is doing the right thing by building FORTIFIED homes that will make a lasting difference in the safety and security of our communities.”

“Almost 97 percent of tornadoes that occurred in Oklahoma during the last 20 years were within the EF-0 to EF-2 range with wind speeds of 135 mph or less. If we look at the Moore 2013 tornado, 88 percent of the damage was caused by wind speeds rated EF2 or lower. If the homes in the tornado’s path had been built to the FORTIFIED Home™–High Wind & Hail Gold-level standard, it is estimated that more than 1,000 damaged homes could have withstood the destructive forces experienced that day without major damage,” continued Doak.

“People often ask why the FORTIFIED Home™ programs are necessary when many jurisdictions have building codes in place. The answer is codes appropriately provide minimum life safety protection designed to ensure people can get out of a building safely. Codes are not intended to ensure homes are habitable after a catastrophic event or to protect the contents inside a home,” said Alex Cary, manager of FORTIFIED programs.

“Habitat for Humanity is a very important partner for IBHS and the FORTIFIED Home programs. This partnership has shown that homes can be more resilient and still affordable for its partner families. We are pleased to work with the COHFH affiliate and help extend the long-lasting benefits of building stronger, safer and more durable homes for communities across Central Oklahoma,” continued Cary.

Visit fortifiedhome.org for more details about the program, including available FORTIFIED Home™ roofer, evaluator or FORTIFIED Wise™ training; how to find an evaluator, select a designation level, and document specific construction features; and other important information.


About Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity (COHFH)

Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry that provides affordable housing for hardworking, limited-income families. The organization has built more than 800 new homes in central Oklahoma since 1990, all sold at cost and with no interest charged.

Mark Harmon’s Bombers Add Home Building to Mark Harmon Celebrity Weekend

Mark Harmon’s Bombers Add Home Building to Mark Harmon Celebrity Weekend

Partners with Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity to help single mother

OKLAHOMA CITY (June 21, 2016) — Golden Globe and Emmy nominated actor, director and producer Mark Harmon and 20 of his friends joined volunteers from Oklahoma Kidz Charities Foundation and GE Johnson Construction Company on a home build for Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity (COHFH) Saturday, June 18 in northwest Oklahoma City.

The group worked alongside homebuyer Nikol Boyd and her mother framing the home located at 8108 NW 73rd Terrace in the Legacy Estates addition. The single mother is a teacher at Oklahoma City Public Schools, who provides for her two sons and handicapped parents.  

Mark Harmon and friends, who belong to the Bombers, a charity sports team, have come to Oklahoma City the last 16 years for the Mark Harmon Celebrity Weekend. Each year, the team takes part in athletic events to raise funds for non-profits supported by the OK Kidz Charities Foundation. Despite an already full schedule, the Bombers expanded their reach to help even more Oklahomans this year by partnering with COHFH.

“When we were here in 2013 and saw the devastation left behind from the Moore tornados. That’s what ignited our desire to help build homes in Oklahoma,” said Harmon. “So we were excited to learn we had the opportunity to work with Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity this year, and help a very deserving single mother.”

Central Oklahoma Habitat Chairman and CEO Ann Felton Gilliland says the Bombers put on nail belts and worked hard framing the house.

“This was not about a photo op with these guys. Mark has a true servant heart and you could tell all the guys enjoyed the experience, even in this heat! Plus, it was just exciting for us to work with someone like Mark and see how dedicated he was to helping our families,” said Gilliland.

Other festivities held June 17 – June 18 included Celebrity Bowling and Celebrity Topgolf events benefitting Kids’ Chance of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic Harmony Pediatric Center.

“Oklahoma Kidz Charities Foundation is blessed by our longstanding friendship with Mark Harmon and the Bombers,” said Robert Fuxa MH16 Event Chairman. “We are so appreciative of the community’s support of our annual Celebrity Weekend and OK Kidz Charities. We are already looking forward and planning for 2017.”

About Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity

Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry that provides affordable housing for hardworking, limited-income families. The organization has built more than 800 new homes in central Oklahoma since 1990, all sold at cost and with no interest charged. For more information, visit cohfh.org or call 405-232-4828.


About Oklahoma Kidz Charities Foundation

Oklahoma Kidz Charities Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to supporting other non-profits in Oklahoma whose values reflect enriching the lives of children, scholastic leadership, academic excellence and mentoring. Our goal this year is to raise $500,000 to help Oklahoma's kids.

Local DIY Blogger takes on challenge to help Habitat for Humanity

DIY Blogger Allison Griffith of RefunkmyJunk stopped by Living Oklahoma to talk about the Frog Tape Paintover Challenge. Griffith is among six bloggers taking part in the challenge. If she wins, $5,000 will be donated to the Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity non-profit organization.

A nationwide online vote will determine the winner. Voting ends Thursday, June 9th. To vote for Griffith and Refunkmyjunk go to paintoverchallenge.com/vote.

OKC Non-Profits Partner to Build Homes for Veterans

Oklahoma City, OK (November 24, 2015)  Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity (COHFH) and Honoring America’s Warriors have partnered to build up to 25 homes for veterans in the Oklahoma City area.  The two non-profits will pool resources to provide opportunities for new home ownership for veterans who qualify based on HUD income requirements.  Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity wanted to meet the needs of veterans who deal with the challenges of transitioning from military to civilian life, and who are on a limited income.  The program is called “Homes for Warriors”.  

“Our organization has always desired to serve our veterans by providing our resources to make the dream of owning a home a reality, but the challenge has been identifying veterans who may qualify.  So we reached out to Ret. USAF Major General Rita Aragon with the Oklahoma Department of Veteran Affairs and she connected us with Honoring America’s Warriors”, said COHFH CEO, Ann Felton. 

Honoring America’s Warriors is an Oklahoma based non-profit that serves a large number of veterans in Oklahoma.  The organization provides military honors with disabled veterans back in service dress uniform as well as outdoor activities and several other programs.  “This partnership is a perfect fit for us as we have identified veterans who qualify for the program and are currently renting”, said Scotty Deatherage executive director for HAW.

The homes will be built in several additions that COHFH currently has under construction located in Oklahoma City and surrounding areas, including Blanchard.  The two organizations have identified veterans who are eligible for the homes, and now they need to raise the funds to get them completed.  If you would like to donate time or monetary donations you can contact Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity at (405) 232-4828 or go to their website www.FundAHome.org.   

About Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity:

Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry that provides affordable housing for hardworking, limited income families. The organization has built over 800 new homes in central Oklahoma since 1990, all sold at cost and with zero interest mortgage. For more information, visit cohfh.org or call 405-232-4828.

About Honoring America’s Warriors

Honoring America’s Warriors is a 501(c) (3) non-profit tax exempt organization dedicated to supporting the physical, mental, and spiritual wellness services to our nation’s heroes. Honoring America’s Warriors provides teams of disabled veterans, in service dress uniform to augment military funeral honors for our brave that have served this country, colors presentations, memorials, and dedications. Honoring America’s Warriors also provides direct support to our nation’s heroes in the areas of outdoor sporting activities, adaptive sports, mental health & spiritual wellness, family & couples gatherings, service/companion dog placement, employment as well as promote prevention and community awareness of Veteran Suicide, Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS), and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).  For more information, visit www.honoringamericaswarriors.org or call 405-659-4156.

Moore Tornado Family Finally Returns Home Following Contractor Fraud

OKLAHOMA CITY (Aug. 20, 2015) – The Moore community and Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity will come together for a special home dedication ceremony on Thurs, Aug. 27 at 2 p.m. at 14505 Briarcliff Dr. in Moore. The Smith family, who fell victim to contractor fraud following the May 20, 2013 tornado, finally gets the keys to their newly re-constructed home in the Briarwood addition.

In the application letter sent to Central Oklahoma Habitat, homeowner John Smith explained the position his family was forced into because of contractor fraud. “I simply cannot believe things have descended this far. Here we are with a house, which cannot be lived in that we pay for each month; we have $25,000 in escrow to fix it, which cannot be touched, and isn’t enough to do what needs to be done anyway; and our family living on the edge every minute of every day hoping nothing else major happens,” said Smith.

Upon hearing the Smith’s story, several local businesses and volunteers joined the effort to repair the Smith’s home. Catholic Charities, Red Cross of Central Oklahoma, Salvation Army, Home Depot and Episcopal Dioceses sponsored the critical home repair, while volunteers from Dell, the U.S. Navy, IBC Bank, AmeriCorps, Stratford High School and others helped rebuild the house.

“Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma Inc. has been referred about 54 clients affected by the May 2013 tornadoes, who complained of fraud by construction contractors,” said Elizabeth Tennery, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow with Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma Inc. Tennery’s fellowship is specifically dedicated to providing legal assistance to Oklahomans affected by the 2013 tornadoes and storms.

The Smith family fired their contractor in September 2014. The family sought guidance from the Oklahoma Disaster Recovery Project, or ODRP, feeling they had exhausted all resources.

"ODRP got us connected with Habitat's Critical Repair Program. Everything that has happened since has exceeded our expectations in every way possible,” said Smith. “Our family is tremendously grateful to everyone who helped us get our house repaired and in many ways even make it better than it was before."  


About Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity:

Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry that provides affordable housing for hardworking, limited-income families. The organization has built more than 800 new homes in central Oklahoma since 1990, all sold at cost and with no interest charged. For more information, visit cohfh.org or call 405-232-4828.

800th Home Build - Oklahoma Women, COHFH Work Together

OKLAHOMA CITY (June 25, 2015) – Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity is celebrating several milestones: the completion of its 800th home build, its 2015 Women Build and its 400th home built with an energy efficient geothermal system.

The new owner of the custom-built home, which is located in Central Oklahoma Habitat’s Faith Landing development in southwest Oklahoma City, is Michele Baker, along with her four children. They have been living in a small two-bedroom apartment, but on Saturday, June 27, they will move into their dream home, built with help from 150 women across Oklahoma. “I’ve been looking for a change for a long time; I have always wanted to own my own home but it seemed so far out of reach,” Baker said.

Baker’s home build kicked off Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity’s 2015 Women Build. For 21 days, teams of about 15 female volunteers – from company presidents to students – put up walls, built closets and painted. “I felt very honored to have been chosen for this build,” Baker said. “I am so very thankful for this opportunity and for the ladies that have been coming out to help us with the build.”

The effort took part in conjunction with National Women Build Week, a weeklong event created by Habitat for Humanity's Women Build program that challenges women to devote at least one day to help build affordable housing in their local communities. Robin Marsh, Emmy-nominated journalist and KWTV News 9 anchor, is the honorary chair for 2015’s build.

Baker’s new house marks ClimateMaster’s 400th installation of a geothermal heat pump system for a Central Oklahoma Habitat home. ClimateMaster, a subsidiary of LSB Industries and a manufacturer of geothermal heating and cooling systems, has partnered with Central Oklahoma Habitat since 2006. “Thanks to ClimateMaster, LSB Industries and their continued support, we are one of the most energy efficient homebuilders in the state of Oklahoma and among the top in the nation, saving families $700 to $800 on average per year,” said Ann Felton, CEO of Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity.

“The completion of the 400th geothermal build by Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity represents the significant economic advantages of these systems and their accessibility in the entry housing market. The addition of geothermal heating and cooling into the affordable housing model provides a real way to minimize future costs, be it utility or maintenance,” said ClimateMaster president Rick Aldridge. “We are honored to work alongside an organization, such as Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity, and to participate in the valuable work they do in aiding and bettering our local community.”

Felton said celebrating these milestones with the Women Build is the perfect opportunity to highlight the importance of home ownership for single women. “It’s truly amazing what women can do when we work to support one another, including reaching this milestone build,” Felton said. “We’re thankful to all of the individuals and groups who help strengthen our community by helping create safe and affordable housing.”

Baker is buying the home through a zero-interest mortgage from Central Oklahoma Habitat. She also put in 300 hours of sweat equity on her own home and others. Baker said her experience working with Central Oklahoma Habitat so far has been amazing.  “I have learned so many things about homeownership, and about myself as well,” Baker said. “I’m learning that I’m able to do a lot of things I thought I’d never be able to do on my own.”

About ClimateMaster, Inc.

ClimateMaster, Inc. manufactures water-source and geothermal heat pumps, which are considered to be the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly type of air conditioning and heating products available on the market today. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., ClimateMaster, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of LSB Industries, Inc. whose common stock is traded over the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LXU. For more information, visit www.climatemaster.com.

About LSB Industries, INC.

LSB Industries, Inc. (NYSE symbol: LXU) is a manufacturing, marketing and engineering company.  Our principal business activities, through our subsidiaries, are the manufacture and sale of a broad range of heating, ventilation and air conditioning products used in commercial, institutional and residential buildings, as well as the manufacture and sale of chemical products for agriculture, industrial, mining, quarry and construction uses. For more information, visit www.lsbindustries.com. 

ClimateMaster Partners with COHFH

Oklahoma City-based ClimateMaster, the world’s largest manufacturer of water source and geothermal heat pump systems, has partnered with Central Oklahoma Habitat for many years.

ClimateMaster donates and installs its energy saving geothermal heat pumps in each new home, making Central Oklahoma Habitat one of the most energy efficient builders in the state of Oklahoma. Geothermal units use the earth as a natural energy source to heat and cool structures. The result is a long-lasting, low maintenance, high-comfort, low-noise system.

Habitat families benefit greatly from the reduced utility costs in homes with Geothermal units.  Utility bills are reduced by nearly one half compared to standard heating and cooling units.  This savings results in more available discretionary income to provide food, clothing, preventative health care, and education.  “It makes a huge difference to our families when they can save on utility costs and provide basic necessities more easily for their families”, said Ann Felton Gilliland, Chairman and CEO of Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity.

 “Without support from the corporate community companies like ClimateMaster, Habitat’s mission would be greatly hindered. ClimateMaster has stepped up to the plate in a big way and I’m very appreciative of their generosity and of the active role they have taken in supporting this project.”

Home Depot Foundation Gives COHFH $328,750

OKLAHOMA CITY (Sept. 16, 2014) — More than a year after the devastating May 2013 tornadoes, many Oklahoma families are still struggling to rebuild their lives and repair their homes. But hope and help are readily available, thanks to a partnership between The Home Depot Foundation and Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity.

The Home Depot Foundation recently approved a grant for more than $320,000 to be used to construct homes for families impacted by last year’s storms. The grant also allows the funds to be used for critical home repairs.

“Central Oklahoma Habitat is still actively engaged in the long-term recovery efforts of those impacted by last year’s tornadoes,” said Ann Felton, Central Oklahoma Habitat president and CEO. “This grant from The Home Depot Foundation will help us extend our services to even more families in need of assistance.”

Across the country, The Home Depot mobilized emergency support to aid relief efforts from communities impacted by deadly tornadoes and severe flooding. To respond effectively, the foundation partners with nonprofits like Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity to ensure their customers receive the support they need.

Felton said those whose homes are in need of moderate repair, such as new siding, roofing or windows, are particularly encouraged to apply.

“We’ve helped several families who were victims of fraudulent contracting practices or who just didn’t have the right insurance coverage to protect themselves and their homes,” Felton said. “Helping Oklahoma residents impacted by the storms to rebuild and repair their homes is a priority for Central Oklahoma Habitat and we’ll continue to assist as long as the need exists.”