The youth volunteering for the Fuller Center during VBS 2011
The Fuller Center for Housing in Northwest Louisiana started up in 2005 and built its first home in 2006 following Hurricane Katrina. They began with four houses all sponsored by area churches (including First Presbyterian). Today, they have built 45 new and affordable homes- 43 in the Allendale community, one in Cedar Grove, and another in Bossier. 100% of the homes built are occupied, and 95% of homeowners are original applicants. Before any work can begin on their own house, applicants must volunteer with the Fuller Center for 200 hours; they then must complete 150 hours on their own homes. The cost to build a house estimated at $75,000, and mortgage over the course of 20 years costs no more than $400 a month (including insurance). The Fuller Center has four houses lined up for spring 2013 in the Stoner Hill neighborhood, and they are currently working with the VOA to identify veterans who will be moving into these homes.
The Greater Blessings Program is another project of the Fuller Center. What they do is rehabilitate existing owner-occupied homes, and projects often consist of exterior home painting, construction of handicap accessible ramps, roof and floor repairs, window replacements, insulation, weatherization, and plumbing/electrical upgrades. These projects can last anywhere from a day to a week or two, depending on the repairs necessary. They have completed 54 projects so far with a waiting list of 54 more.
The Fuller Center is preparing to open their new Surplus Store out of their new offices on Linwood Avenue. They are not going to sell appliances, but home fixtures such as windows, doors, and ceiling fans. Their soft opening will be Saturday, October 13 from 10am-2pm, and then the store will run Thursdays-Saturdays, 9am-6pm. Volunteers will soon be needed to help out with the store.
Finally, the Fuller Center is working on having a grocery store in the Allendale community. Currently, the nearest grocery store is 8 miles away, and many people do not have reliable transportation. Their goal is to sell healthy food, including fresh produce, which is scarce in the neighborhood. The building is ready to open, but they are just waiting on finding local suppliers to contribute.
Outreach opportunities and needs:
- Groups/churches can sponsor a new home or lead a rehabilitation project
- Refer families to the ministry at the FullerCenter
- Donated property for construction
- Volunteers to help with builds and projects
- Volunteer supporters who provide food and water at builds
- Donated items such as: compressors/generators, reciprocating saws, paint supplies (brushes, frames, buckets, rollers, drop cloths, caulk, sealants, sprayers, etc.), hammers, tool belts, gloves, small chainsaws (for cutting tree limbs), surplus building materials, drills and drill bits, and bottle water