BY TREVOR CADDEL
San Gorgonio Pass Area Habitat For Humanity is “moving along” on their latest project in Banning.
A plot of land on Christie Street was donated anonymously to Habitat For Humanity, and was their choice for the new home of a deserving family.
“These legacy donations are very helpful to Habitat,” said Jeanette Marlar, executive director for the San Gorgonio Pass Area Habitat For Humanity.
Marlar said that one of the most helpful and appreciated donations are those that leave a lasting legacy that benefit generations to come — property, specifically, in this case.
The three-bedroom home selected for Banning is partially pre-fabricated and partially built on site. The home itself was manufactured and moved in two separate segments to the site where setting of the home will be completed after Habitat For Humanity has completed the on-site construction of the garage.
Marlar said that the home they chose was more conducive to the property but that it is the first time they have done it this way.
The 13 previous homes the organization has offered in Banning, through a partnership with the city, are remodels of existing houses that were refurbished.
The house was trucked in from Corona in March, and by June should be the newest home for Army veteran Chandi Lawton, who is a security officer for Coombs Alternative Education through the Banning Unified School District, and his wife (whose name is pronounced similarly, though spelled differently) Shawndi also works for the school district as technician with the Nutrition Services Department.
Lawton serves as a reservist with the 7230th Medical Support Unit at March Air Reserve Base, having joined the Army in 1995, a year after they married
They and their four children currently reside in Banning.
“Being a military family for nearly 25 years, we have adapted to the phrase ‘Home is where your family is,’” Shawndi Lawton says. “Living in military-assigned housing and moving all around the world every few years, we’ve never really had stability, or an opportunity to personalize a home and make it our own,” she points out.
Now that the family’s children are growing older and preparing to have kids of their own, “We now know that we truly need a ‘forever’ home — that will provide comfort, security and stability for our children and grandchildren — where we can all come together to share our joys, sorrows and love.”
She adds, “We are so very blessed and grateful to have been selected a partner with Habitat For Humanity, and we are extremely anxious and excited to own our very own home.”
Homeowners through Habitat’s program have already invested in more than 200 hours of “sweat equity,” or volunteer work toward their home and other Habitat For Humanity projects, which is a condition towards qualifying for a Habitat home.
Habitat For Humanity offers what is call a planned giving option for a donation on their website, and is the same type of donation that was received here in Banning.
According to their website, the goal of these donations is to help people “obtain the confidence and self-sufficiency they need to invest in themselves and their communities.
These outcomes are most often long-lasting and change the lives of multiple generations of a family.”
The class of donations outlines ways people can better contribute now, but also shows how people can contribute after they have passed.
Volunteers make up a large portion of the work force and, according to Marlar, the contractor’s license that they are working under came from one of Habitat For Humanity’s board members here in the Pass area.
By also providing financial literacy classes and other programs that teach the basics and importance of homeownership to accepted applicants, Habitat For Humanity hopes to increase the longevity of their interest-free 15-year loan investment by building not just the home, but the family that will live in that home.
Marlar said these programs are important out here especially because Habitat For Humanity, which is a faith-based nonprofit, is one of the few affordable home builders in the Pass area targeting lower income families and providing the resources for them to have long-term success.
The organization welcomes volunteers. To learn more on how to become involved, contact Jeanette Marlar at (951) 769-7600.
Staff Writer Trevor Caddel may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (951) 849-4586x117.