Interfaith Housing Services project for veterans’ duplex draws wide support

Jan 22, 2017

Folks at Interfaith Housing Services can only remember one other project generating as much community support as its current venture, which will provide low-income rental housing for veterans and their families.

With the help of the community, Interfaith is converting a donated home into a duplex with two, two-bedroom, two-bathroom rental units, located across from its office, 1326 E. Ave. A.

“I believe the fact that this is the first time that IHS has reached out to the veteran community in Hutchinson must have something to do with the amount of outreach,” said Jeff Thomson, project coordinator.

The latest donation came Wednesday as a half-dozen Mark Borecky Construction workers finished the roof free of charge. The company also donated windows for the units.
Mark Borecky Construction workers

“We didn’t have to think twice to be able to jump in on doing something,” said Borecky who owns the residential and commercial construction company with co-owner Curtis Mitchell.

IBEW Local #661 helps Interfaith Housing

Although the company has helped local agencies with other projects, including those at Interfaith, Borecky said this is the first time they’ve done something for those who have served the country.

Thomson said the only other time Interfaith has seen this much community help was for its volunteer house.

The project “really hit home” for L&M Electric, a veteran-owned and operated electrical contractor in Hutchinson, said Nathan DeBerry.

L&M supplied its license to 20 members of the local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers a couple weekends ago so they could wire the home’s basement.

DeBerry, business manager for IBEW Local #661, said while members offered their time and labor at no cost, they aren’t done. Members plan on coming back to finish the rest of the home.

“We will continue this project until it’s completed,” DeBerry said.

DeBerry approached Interfaith about wanting to give back to the community all while giving apprentices and journeyman wireman a place to learn.

IBEW Local #661 helps Interfaith Housing

While the brotherhood has done things for the community in the past, this was the first time they were able to offer what they do best.

Thomson said the donation saved Interfaith around $7,000 to $10,000, and will help keep the project on budget. The nonprofit only paid for materials.

Contractors have come out of nowhere for this project, he added.

Woodwork Manufacturing and Supply donated 17 interior doors, and both Decker & Mattison Heating and Air Conditioning and JRAY Plumbing cut IHS special rates for services.

Even groups outside of Hutchinson have lent a hand.

A majority of the renovation work is being done by those volunteering with Conservative Anabaptist Service Program (CASP). Volunteers from AmeriCorps have also helped out.

“Without a collaborative effort like this, it just wouldn’t happen,” Thomson said about the project. “It takes a village – everybody helping everybody.”

Holly Thomas, director of development at Interfaith Housing Services said individuals have monetarily donated about $25,000 for this project so far.

The Home Depot Foundation has also given a $5,000 grant to help with the renovation.

The project, which has a $50,000 fundraising goal, could go over budget due to unforeseen issues and needs.

Thomson said that while the community help has been wonderful, none of this would have been possible without Ben Miller who donated the home and paid for its relocation from Pleasantview to Hutchinson.

Two upcoming projects:

Once this house is finished and veterans begin renting the units by mid-February, repair work will begin on a home at 734 W. First Ave., that was donated to IHS after catching on fire. This home, which was once on the city’s demolition list, needs plumbing, electrical and heating and air-conditioning work.

If you’re a subcontractor and would like to help with the project, please call Jeff Thomson. 

IHS is also planning on rehabbing a home being purchased by United Way of Reno County in the SW Bricktown Neighborhood. Funding from the rental housing will help support the SW Bricktown Neighborhood Center at Avenue A School.