Press Releases

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.

AT&T Makes $10,000 Contribution to Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity

MUSTANG, OKLA. (Feb. 9, 2017) – Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity received a $10,000 donation from AT&T Thursday, February 9 during a check presentation and home dedication ceremony for homeowner Maria Rivera and her family in the Johnson Farms addition in Mustang.

 

“From constructing homes to helping families break the cycle of poverty and build long-term financial security – the work that Central Oklahoma Habitat is doing is truly inspiring – and we are so proud to help support it,” said Steve Hahn, president, AT&T Oklahoma. “AT&T has been doing business in Oklahoma for more than a century, and the communities and people we serve have always been a top priority.”

Director of External and Regulatory Affairs for AT&T Oklahoma Jason Constable and Director of Sales for AT&T Mobility David Underwood presented the check to Central Oklahoma Habitat CEO and Chairman, Ann Felton Gilliland.

“We are so grateful for companies like AT&T that care about making a real difference in the communities they serve. And it is not just this significant monetary donation we’re talking about. We ‘ve had local AT&T employees come out and volunteer to build homes for deserving, hard-working families,” said Felton Gilliland. AT&T is a great example of a company helping to build hope and strong communities right here in Oklahoma and we can’t thank them enough.”

This contribution and employee volunteerism programs are part of the platform of initiatives provided by AT&T Community Engagement, which offers employees the opportunity to help communities thrive. By working together, AT&T employees are carrying on AT&T’s legacy of giving and service, making a positive impact – one person, one neighborhood at a time.

For more than a century, AT&T employees have been donating their time and talents to support underserved populations and strengthen communities. In 2015, AT&T employees and retirees volunteered more than 5.4-million hours of time in community outreach activities, worth more than $124-million.

About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T

AT&T is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T’s signature philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring. Through Aspire, we’ve passed the $250 million mark on our plan to invest $350 million in education from 2008-2017.

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.

 

Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity Family Pays Off Debt to Realize Homeownership

All Soul’s Episcopal Church Donates $90,000 for Home Build

OKLAHOMA CITY (Nov. 22, 2016) – A Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity family realizes their dream of homeownership seven years after they applied to the program. Rocky and Camille Bratton, and their three children received the keys to their new home in the Legacy Estates Addition in Oklahoma City at a home dedication ceremony held Saturday, November 19.

“Knowing that God was in control is what kept my husband and I going this whole time. We've tried wherever possible in our lives to be a blessing to others knowing that God is always in control. Seeing this dream come together is all the affirmation we ever needed. Our children also had a great deal to do with that. The thought of being able to give them a more secure and stable environment kept us pushing through,” said Camille Bratton, homeowner.

The family decided early on that Camille would be a stay at home mom, so Rocky works two jobs as a lead insurance replacement specialist at the Hertz Corporation and as a youth specialist for Youth for Christ in order to make ends meet.

Camille applied for a Central Oklahoma Habitat home in 2009 but the family was told they had to pay off debt and credit cards before being accepted into the program.

“Many times our families do not make it through our process the first time because of too much debt, however we work with our families and send them to Consumer Credit Counseling to help them get their finances in order so they can successfully go through our program,” said Ann Felton Gilliland, CEO and chairman for Central Oklahoma Habitat. “I admire the perseverance of this family to take the initiative to work through their debts and learn how to budget for their expenses.  We know that it can be a big transition for our families to go from renting to homeownership. And that’s why we do everything we can to educate them regarding the responsibilities of homeownership.”

The Brattons agree. They say the whole process challenged them to become better stewards of their income and pay closer attention to their credit.

All Souls’ Episcopal Church donated $90,000 and provided numerous volunteers during the home build.

“Camille and Rocky are an inspirational and a deserving family, giving back to their community as leaders with Youth for Christ. I would like to thank all the parishioners at All Soul’s Episcopal church that donated their time and money to build this home for the Bratton Family!  We are honored to have partnered with Habitat for Humanity and their incredible building crew to see the fruit of our labor create a Christ-centered home in our community,” said Jamie Lathrop, parishioner and leader at All Souls’ Episcopal Church.

Rocky Bratton says before the framing of the house ever started, The Rev. Patrick Bright and his staff at All Souls’ brought he and his family to the church so they could get to know them.

“They didn’t want to just check a box and say they made their donation. This was an intimate experience. We are grateful for that; it was real. They took us out to eat and got to know us. All the blessings are great but it is the relationship that will last. We will be forever grateful,” said Rocky Bratton, homeowner.

The Brattons completed 300 hours of sweat equity to serve as a down payment on the home and now make zero-percent interest mortgage payments.

“Central Oklahoma Habitat is a blessing that keeps on giving as the homeowners pay for their house, and thus provide capital for further home building,” said The Rev. Patrick Bright, priest at All Souls Episcopal Church.

###

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.

Two Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity Families     to Realize Homeownership

Habitat Closes 2016 Providing 45 New Homes to Families in Need

OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 30, 2016) – Two more Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity families will realize their dream of homeownership in 2016.

 

OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 30, 2016) – Two more Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity families will realize their dream of homeownership in 2016.

Lian Thang and Ning Nem, parents to 2 daughters ages 8 and 1 and a son age 5, received the keys to their new home in the Legacy Estates Addition in Oklahoma City at a home dedication ceremony held Thursday, December 29. Lian has worked for Balon Corporation as a Machine Operator since 2014. Local grocery chain Buy For Less made the home possible through their sponsorship, which included both a financial donation and volunteer construction support.

“As our family grew, we had to keep moving for more room and the rent continued to get higher. This is not an easy situation for my family living on such a small income,” said

Lian Thang, homeowner. “Moving from a small 2-bedroom apartment to this Habitat home will relieve my worries about rent increases and allow my family to live in a stable community with good schools. We are so grateful to Habitat for giving me and my family this opportunity to finally own a home.” 

Oklahoma City-based Blue Knight Energy funded and employees volunteered for the construction of Jamesetta Lewis’ new home. She received the keys to her home in the Legacy Estates Addition in Oklahoma City at a home dedication ceremony held Friday, December 30.

“It has been my dream to own a home so I can give my daughter some stability,” says Jamesetta Lewis, homeowner. “I am so thankful to Central Habitat for Humanity for this opportunity to attain one of the biggest goals of my life.” 

Jamesetta has worked for Fretzpark Homes, Inc. as an administrative assistant since 2012. She is a single mother to 10-year old daughter, Breniya. She has rented the same small 2-bedroom apartment for 10-years and had never owned a home, despite applying to mortgage company and being denied. She then applied to Central Oklahoma Habitat and was approved for its home ownership program.

“I admire the perseverance and am so proud of these families who take the initiative to work through the process we have in place to achieve home ownership. We do everything we can to educate our families regarding the responsibilities of homeownership and it’s such a blessing to see the result,” said Ann Felton Gilliland, CEO and chairman for Central Oklahoma Habitat. “We are also so very grateful to Buy For Less and Blue Knight Energy for sponsoring these homes, and, to all the volunteers who give their time and talents to help build these home. We just couldn’t do it without them.”

###

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 869 new homes in central Oklahoma since 1990, all sold at cost and with no interest charged.

Blueknight Energy Partners to build home for Oklahoma City Family

OKLAHOMA CITY (September 29, 2016) — Blueknight Energy and Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity began construction tomorrow on a home in the Legacy Estates Addition for first time homeowners, the Lewis family, who’s dream of raising a family in a secure and stable home is becoming a reality.

Blueknight Energy Partners to build home for Oklahoma City Family

Family to purchase the new home through a partnership with Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity

OKLAHOMA CITY (September 29, 2016) — Blueknight Energy and Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity began construction tomorrow on a home in the Legacy Estates Addition for first time homeowners, the Lewis family, who’s dream of raising a family in a secure and stable home is becoming a reality.

More than 50 employees of Blueknight Energy Partners are helping the family achieve one of their many goals, becoming homeowners.

“Blueknight is honored to partner with one of Oklahoma City’s most important organizations, Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity, in the framing and development of a home for the Lewis family,” said Mark Hurley, president and CEO, Blueknight Energy Partners. “This is our third build with Habitat for Humanity, and I am so proud of how our employees from across the state come together in the spirit of volunteerism as they exemplify Blueknight’s commitment to the community.”

“The support of local companies like Blueknight is what it’s all about with Central Oklahoma Habitat. Thanks to the countless volunteers, we are able to make a difference in the community one home at a time,” said Ann Felton Gilliland, Chairman and CEO, Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity.  

In addition to volunteering, Blueknight donated $10,000 toward the home build.

“Blueknight also wants to thank Ann Felton Gilliland and her amazing staff for making opportunities like this possible. The organization continues to change the lives of many Oklahomans every year,” Hurley said.

Once home construction is complete, a house dedication ceremony will be held for the Lewis family.

Central Oklahoma Habitat offers low-income families the opportunity to purchase a home with a zero interest mortgage. Families must work at least 300 hours of sweat equity on their home or the homes of others in order to purchase the home.

To see if you may qualify for assistance, call Central Oklahoma Habitat at (405) 232-4828 or apply online at www.cohfh.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 more than 800 new homes in central Oklahoma since 1990, all sold at cost and with no interest charged.

About Blueknight Energy Partners, L.P.

BKEP owns and operates a diversified portfolio of complementary midstream energy assets consisting of approximately 7.4 million barrels of crude oil storage located in Oklahoma and Texas, approximately 6.6 million barrels of which are located at the Cushing, Oklahoma Interchange, approximately 985 miles of crude oil pipeline located primarily in Oklahoma and Texas, approximately 240 crude oil transportation and oilfield services vehicles deployed in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas and approximately 8.2 million barrels of combined asphalt product and residual fuel oil storage located at 45 terminals in 24 states. BKEP provides integrated services for companies engaged in the production, distribution and marketing of crude oil, asphalt and other petroleum products. BKEP is headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. For more information, visit the Partnership’s Web site at www.bkep.com.

HOME CREATIONS TO BUILD ENTIRE HOME IN NINE DAYS

Legacy Estates “Blitz Build” to Benefit Central Oklahoma Habitat Family

OKLAHOMA CITY (Sept. 12, 2016) – Home Creations, a proud sponsor of the
Oklahoma City Thunder, breaks ground on Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity’s
(COHFH) 2016 Blitz Build September 12. In just nine-working days, Home Creations
will complete the new home build at 8104 NW 71st in the Legacy Estates addition
for a deserving Habitat family.

“It definitely takes some cooperation from the city with inspections, and also all the
tradespeople and suppliers – making sure they show up and understand how critical the
time schedule is,” said MJ Farzaneh, Construction Director for Home Creations. “If one
person does not show up on time or get finished on time, it can throw off the entire
schedule for the builder.”

A home dedication ceremony will be held for homeowners Mohammed Madrane,
Ilham Elabri and their two-year old son at 3:30 p.m., Friday, September 23. The
celebration will include a visit from Rumble the Bison, Thunder Girls and Thunder
Drummers. The occasion will mark Home Creations fifth “Blitz Build” for COHFH.
“We like to give back to community. We’ve been in business here in Oklahoma for 35-
years and are blessed with a lot of wonderful customers, so this gives us an opportunity
to give back to a great cause,” said Farzaneh.

Central Oklahoma Habitat Chairman and CEO Ann Felton Gilliland says Home
Creations commitment to the Blitz Build is priceless.

“New home construction generally takes our crews and volunteers eight-to-12 weeks to
complete. You cannot imagine the time, effort and coordination that goes into building a
new home in nine-days – it really is an amazing feat. We are so grateful for Home
Creations,” said Felton Gilliland.

“When Habitat asks us to help them out on a build like this, we jump on it. It’s awesome
that we can put our name on a house for Habitat and that home goes to a family in
need,” said Farzaneh.

The Elabri family, who moved to Oklahoma from Morocco seven years ago, is working to
finish 300 hours of sweat equity, which will serve as a down payment on their new home.
This consists of working on other COHFH home builds and volunteering at Central
Oklahoma Habitat ReStores. Once the Elabris move into their house, they will make
zero-interest mortgage payments.

“Now that we are parents we want the American Dream just like everyone else, to own a
home and to have a backyard and a community where our kids can grow and play,” said
Mohammed Elabri. “We look forward to building memories that will last a lifetime.”

###
About Home Creations
Since 1981, brothers Jalal and Mohammad Farzaneh have dedicated themselves to
building new homes in Oklahoma that offer the latest in amenities, design and location at
a price that has made homeownership a reality for thousands of Oklahomans. Home
Creations is dedicated to providing the best product in new home real estate market in
the greater Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas. In 2011, Home Creations received
ENERGY STAR® Partner of the year. Home Creations’ main office is located at 2240 N.
Broadway in Moore. For more information, visit homecreations.com or call 405-692-
2222.

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 850 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.

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.

Women Come Together to Address Oklahoma Housing Needs

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 27, 2016) – Honorary Chairman Edie S. Roodman, CEO and Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City and volunteers kick off Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity’s annual Women Build at 8 a.m., Friday, May 6 in the Johnson Farms addition near Southwest 44th and Council Road in Mustang.

“Serving as Honorary chair for the 2016 Women Build is a job that instills pride in creating an indelible imprint for a Habitat family. It is certainly a project of heart and home,” said Roodman. “I love that the Women Build empowers women to take action and make a difference in our community, as well as ‘nail’ a new skill set!”

The Women Build invites women from all walks of life to devote at least one day to help families build strength, stability and independence through housing. The program is meant to spotlight the homeownership challenges faced by women.

“We have several openings for volunteer groups of five to 30 women throughout the home build, which is set to be completed in mid-June,” said Ann Felton Gilliland, CEO and Chairman, Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity. “No experience necessary. We teach you the construction skills needed to get the job done!”

“By working together, we will lay a firm foundation and cement our investment in improving the lives of others in OKC,” said Roodman.

Those who want to support the cause, but are unable to volunteer their time can make a monetary donation online at COHFH.org, or donate new or “gently used” household items at the downtown and south Oklahoma City Central Oklahoma Habitat ReStores.

Once home construction is complete, a house dedication ceremony will be held for Maria Wright and her three children. Wright will work alongside the volunteers building the home for a total of 300 sweat equity hours. Like all Habitat partner families, she will make mortgage payments with zero percent interest to purchase the home at cost.

###

About Women Build

Central Oklahoma Habitat adopted the national Women Build program more than a decade ago. The Women Build program started in 1991 in Charlotte, N.C. and has grown across international borders. The program empowers women everywhere who want to learn construction skills and build affordable homes, while addressing the housing crisis facing millions of women and children worldwide.

National Women Build Week

This year more than 17,000 women from across the country are expected to volunteer at Habitat construction sites during National Women Build Week. The event created by the Women Build program is held the week leading up to Mother’s Day in 325 communities. Women from all walks of life are invited to volunteer at least one day to help families build strength, stability and independence through housing. The week is meant to spotlight the homeownership challenges faced by women.

Governor Fallin Tours Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity Inmate Program

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 29, 2016) – Governor Mary Fallin toured Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity’s (COHFH) inmate program contracted through the Department of Human Services today at the Central Oklahoma Habitat headquarters located at 5005 S I-35 Service Rd. in Oklahoma City. 

“Programs like this must be part of our approach to criminal justice. We must show offenders that there are other choices than returning to crime once they are released from prison,” said Fallin. “This Habitat for Humanity program teaches inmates important skills, while benefitting an organization that works to provide much-needed homes for low-income residents.”

The COHFH Inmate Program is a Department of Corrections (DOC) Prisoners Public Work Program (PPWP), which allows inmates assigned to community corrections centers and community work centers to learn a skill or trade outside of the facility.

The PPWP crews are contracted through state agencies, which work with local organizations.

For the COHFH project, approximately 10 inmates work seven hours a day, five days a week at a warehouse onsite constructing components used to build homes.  

Corrections Director Joe M. Allbaugh said the program is beneficial and is allowing inmates to get the opportunity to do more with their lives once they leave custody.

“Working with the Department of Human Services to give inmates an opportunity to learn a skill or trade to better the community is a win-win,” said Allbaugh. “Inmates who leave custody with a skill are more likely to find a job or career and are less likely to end up back in state custody. I appreciate the governor’s support, also the support of Central Oklahoma Habitat, and the Department of Human Services for giving these men an opportunity.”

Warehouse and Logistics Manager Mike Brown, who oversees the program at COHFH, says the inmates’ work is vital for the organization to accomplish the mission of building new homes for Oklahomans in need, and gives inmates an opportunity to earn money, and turn a skill into a career.

“We have been giving inmates opportunities some have never had before,” said Brown. “When they leave the program they have helped not only themselves but also people in need.”

###

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 Clara Waters Community Corrections Center

Clara Waters Community Corrections Center is a community treatment center in Oklahoma City that houses inmates who are transitioning out of prison. The maximum capacity at Clara Waters is 292 inmates. While incarcerated there, offenders can earn a GED and receive substance abuse treatment through a 4-month program. Its transitional program is a 100 hours program that is offered to inmates, who are within 60 days of discharge, or are within 60 days of work release eligibility. The goals of the transitional program are to provide inmates with a foundation to obtain employment, improve their confidence in dealing with daily life, and to help inmates re-establish themselves into society.

Critical Home Repair Program Restores Home for Disabled Sibling

OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 24, 2015) – Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity’s (COHFH) Critical Repair Program begins work Thursday, February 25, on a home belonging to disabled siblings, Josh and Rosalyn Tran, whose parents passed away. 

OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 24, 2015) – Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity’s (COHFH) Critical Repair Program begins work Thursday, February 25, on a home belonging to disabled siblings, Josh and Rosalyn Tran, whose parents passed away. The home located near NW 13th and N. Indiana Ave. will undergo repairs to the roof, exterior doors, heat and air, flooring, plumbing and painting.

Vicki Stewart, an employee at HK&S Iron in Oklahoma City, who works with Josh, and also looks out for the Trans, notified COHFH about the siblings' dire living situation.

“Their home is in such need of repairs. Both of these young adults need a break; so much has been taken from them. They have never asked for help from anyone,” said Stewart.

“This is why our Critical Home Repair program exists…to help low-income homeowners who can’t maintain their home due to limitations, like disabilities, age, or other circumstances. It is Central Oklahoma Habitat’s goal to go in and restore the Tran’s home to safe, healthy and affordable living conditions,” said Ann Felton Gilliland, Central Oklahoma Habitat CEO and Chairman.

The Tran's mother and father both died of cancer within seven months of each other in 2008. A hospice worker, who took care of them during their final days, depleted the family's life savings, leaving thesiblings with nothing but a dilapidated house. 

HK&S Iron hired Josh out of respect for his father, a long-time, respected employee of the shop, and concern for the family’s well being. At 33-years old, Josh is limited in his abilities but makes $12 an hour helping out around the shop. He uses his income to pay house bills and take care of his mentallydisabled sister, who is 34-year old.

“In spite of what they have suffered, Josh and Roselyn both have such a sweet spirit and disposition for life. They are both so very humble and soft-spoken. Rosalyn recently commented that maybe they could get curtains soon,” said Stewart.

All monetary donations made to the Critical Home Repair program go directly to the cost of materials and any contract labor necessary to repair and revitalize eligible homes. To make a donation, go tocohfh.org, and note “Critical Home Repair” in the comments section of the donation form.

###

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.

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.
 

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.” 

Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity welcomes three new board members

OKLAHOMA CITY (August 6, 2014) — Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity today announced the election of three new members to its board of directors: Joshua Fahrenbruck, vice president, J.P. Morgan Private Bank; Mark McBride, State Representative, District 53; and Patrick Lippmann, senior vice president at BancFirst.

OKLAHOMA CITY (August 6, 2014) — Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity today announced the election of three new members to its board of directors: Joshua Fahrenbruck, vice president, J.P. Morgan Private Bank; Mark McBride, State Representative, District 53; and Patrick Lippmann, senior vice president at BancFirst.

 “All three of our newest board members embody the spirit of community and fellowship we share at Habitat for Humanity,” said Ann Felton Gilliland, president and CEO of Habitat. “I appreciate Joshua, Mark and Patrick, and their willingness to bring their unique talents and expertise to our board. We are very fortunate to have them by our side as we continue our work to provide safe and secure housing to Oklahomans.”


Joshua Fahrenbruck is a native Oklahoman and has been with J.P. Morgan since July 2013, providing world-class investment advice and service to high net worth clients. Prior to his position at J.P. Morgan, Fahrenbruck served as communications director at Kimray, a manufacturer of control equipment used in oil and gas production.

Fahrenbruck is an active member of the philanthropic Oklahoma City community, sitting on boards for the Redbud Classic, The Downtown Club and Allied Arts. He is a member of Rotary Club 29 and Leadership Oklahoma City Class 30.


Representative Mike McBride is a respected businessman and community leader who has earned a reputation for helping people and getting results. McBride was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2012 and has served as vice-chair of the House Utility and Environmental Regulation Committee and the House Judiciary Committee.

McBride is the owner of McBride Construction and Roofing, as well as McBride Homes. He is a co-founder of Shelter Oklahoma Schools, having helped raise more than $2.2 million to build shelters in Oklahoma Schools. In addition to his private-sector experience, McBride is a member of the Moore and South Oklahoma City Chambers of Commerce, as well as the Central Oklahoma Homebuilders Association.


Patrick Lippmann is a native Oklahoman and has been with BancFirst since 2001, responsible for the development of new lending and depository relationships with commercial real estate developers. Lippmann is a veteran commercial real estate lender with more than 35 years of lending and special asset management service. He served as a court-appointed receiver, as a general contractor and as a subsequent developer for bank owners and as an instructor in real estate lending courses for banks and for the American Institute of Banking - Midwest.

Lippmann is also a member of the BancFirst Acquisition Deployment Team, responsible for valuation of loan portfolios of acquired institutions.

A dedicated community leader, Lippmann serves on several nonprofit boards, including chairman of the Friends of Scouting for Last Frontier Council, Boy Scouts of America, and an executive board member of the Central and Western Chapter of the American Red Cross.

***

About Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity

Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry that provides affordable housing for hardworking, limited-income families. The organization has built more than 700 new homes in central Oklahoma since 1990, all sold at cost and with no interest charged. For more information, visit www.cocfh.org or call (405) 232-4828.

Express Employment Professionals - $300,000

Express Employment Professionals donated $300,000 to Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity today to purchase 30 lots in a Moore neighborhood devastated by last year’s May tornadoes. In celebration of its 30th anniversary at Moore Fire Station Number 1, Express launched its “Celebrating 30 Years with 30 Homes” initiative to help rebuild Moore.


MOORE, Okla. (February, 28, 2014) 

“The May 2013 tornadoes left a deep scar on our state,” said Bob Funk, Express CEO and chairman of the board. “Following the devastation, the city of Moore and surrounding communities have shown incredible resilience. In every disaster, people in the eye of the storm need a helping hand. At Express, we are always here to lend a hand.”

Express will provide funds every two months for five years toward the purchase of 30 lots. With international headquarters in Oklahoma City, the employment and staffing company will also provide a workforce of its headquarters employees to periodically assist Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity with construction. Employees will volunteer for one workday every two months, each time a new lot is purchased.

“We are grateful for this investment by Express in the community,” said Ann Felton, Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity CEO. “The company’s generosity enables our organization to provide 30 families with affordable homes in Moore. The Express donation is another example of the compassion and unity we have witnessed in the wake of May’s tragedy.”

Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity currently has homes available for purchase in Moore. Qualified families will be able to buy homes on lots purchased by Express as they are completed.

Stanley Black & Decker has joined forces with Express to provide tools required for the rebuilding effort. The tools were delivered Friday by the World Champion Express Clydesdales six-horse hitch team and given to Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity.

In addition to the $300,000 gift to Habitat, Funk has been a supporter of relief efforts associated with the May tornadoes. In June, Express donated $25,000 to the United Way OK Strong Disaster Relief Fund. Express-affiliated company Prodigal Sports has been involved in building five homes in the past three years with Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity through its partnership with the Oklahoma City Barons. And, Express employees have also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in the past to build homes.

“30 Years with 30 Homes” is made possible by Express Employment Professionals, along with Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity and Stanley Black & Decker. 

Hobby Lobby Gives $1M

Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. has committed $2 million to disaster relief efforts in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma City-based crafts retailer said Friday it would donate $1 million to Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity and $1 million to the American Red Cross to assist victims of the recent tornadoes in Central Oklahoma.


Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. has committed $2 million to disaster relief efforts in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma City-based crafts retailer said Friday it would donate $1 million to Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity and $1 million to the American Red Cross to assist victims of the recent tornadoes in Central Oklahoma.

Hobby Lobby also plans to provide its own construction team to help Central Oklahoma Habitat build a home for one of the families affected by the tornadoes.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the families affected by the tornadoes that destroyed parts of our state,” CEO David Green said in a statement. “We know that their hearts are hurting, but we also know that God is with them, and we hope that these contributions will aid in helping them rebuild their homes and begin the healing process. We know that through Him, all things are possible.”

Central Oklahoma Habitat issued a challenge to the public on Friday to help rebuild homes.

“It is no surprise that Hobby Lobby is stepping forward with this more than generous gift and accepting the challenge to support the long-term tornado relief effort,” said Ann Felton Gilliland, chairman and CEO of Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity. “This money will provide safe, affordable housing for many Oklahomans who lost their homes. We know how much a home means to a family, and we feel truly blessed to receive this gift.”

This week, more than 200 Red Cross disaster workers in Oklahoma have opened shelters, kitchens and emergency aid stations.

“With the help of caring individuals like the Green family, the people of Oklahoma will be able to rebuild their neighborhoods and restore the community, and we could not feel more blessed to accept this donation on their behalf,” said Jake Peters, chief development officer with Red Cross Central and Western Oklahoma.

Lose to Serve, 4Corners Homes and Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity partner

OKLAHOMA CITY (June 14, 2014) — Karissa Smith never imagined that she would be the beneficiary of a new home when her church, Shartel Church of God, decided to enter the Lose to Serve contest. Today, volunteers from Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity, and all participating organizations, will begin framing the home that Smith will share with her daughter, Jessica.

OKLAHOMA CITY (June 14, 2014) — Karissa Smith never imagined that she would be the beneficiary of a new home when her church, Shartel Church of God, decided to enter the Lose to Serve contest. Today, volunteers from Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity, and all participating organizations, will begin framing the home that Smith will share with her daughter, Jessica.

“When our church began discussing entering the Lose to Serve contest, I thought it would be a great opportunity for my daughter,” Smith said. “I never thought we’d be the family chosen to purchase this home, as I’m sure there are families in our church that may be worse off. ”

Smith’s home build is a partnership between Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity, Lose to Serve and 4Corners homes. Lose to Serve is a nonprofit organization that hosts weight-loss challenges for Christian churches in the Oklahoma City metro area. This year 30 churches participated, with an average weight loss of 7.76 pounds per person and an incredible 80 percent participation.


“Shartel Church of God won the competition and was able to select a deserving family to purchase the home being built in cooperation with 4Corners Homes and Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity,” said Cody Bobay, director of Lose to Serve.

Ann Felton, president and CEO of Central Oklahoma Habitat is excited to partner with Lose to Serve and 4Corners to build the Smith home.

“Without our partners, families like the Smiths wouldn’t be able to purchase a home from us,” Felton said. “We’re so grateful for all of the companies that are coming together on this special build.”

The home Smith was renting was damaged during last year’s tornadoes, with windows blown out and roof damage.

“We were so lucky that day. Our home didn’t take a direct hit, but our landlord has never fixed the damage to the roof and just recently fixed the windows damaged last year,” Smith said.

According to Smith, the tornadoes left more emotional damage or her family than physical. Her daughter experienced three tornadoes within three weeks last year and that has left a few scars not visible to the eye.

“We were by no means affected by the tornadoes like some other families, but the trauma of experiencing the tornadoes has left its own scar,” Smith said. “A house for us at this point is a reassurance that though we’ve been through these things, everything is still going to be okay. Past things in our lives don’t define us.”

Smiths home will be built on an accelerated schedule, known as a blitz build. The house should be ready for move in at the end of July.

“There are so many wonderful organizations helping build this home, but if we didn’t go to this amazing church none of this would have happened,” Smith said. “Throughout these storms, I have found that I have a deeper understanding of God’s grace, love and mercy for myself, my daughter and all of his children.”

To check for eligibility, call Central Oklahoma Habitat at (405) 232-4828 or apply online at www.cohfh.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 more than 700 new homes in central Oklahoma since 1990, all sold at cost and with no interest charged. For more information, visit www.cohfh.org or call (405) 232-4828.