On March 21, 2015, five families in Vilonia were given a second chance Saturday, after Habitat For Humanity placed them in their new homes. Volunteers have been working for three months in the city that was ripped by 2014's tornado.
The program started after Habitat for Humanity in Faulkner County decided to help those families most affected by the April tornado. They received requests from 50 families, so far they've been able to help 12.It's the second time Barbara Mullin's home has been hit by a tornado, the first time being in 2011. "It does not sound like a freight train, it sounds like a huge vacuum."
Shenel Sandidge, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity in Faulkner County, said that after the tornado, 50 families applied to get new homes. Sandidge said that their focus is to help those who were most vulnerable.
"The ones that were out there, that were renting, that owned mobile homes and the mobile homes were totally destroyed. They didn't own the land nor the mobile home, so a lot of the renters pushed to the side because they didn't have insurance," said Shenel Sandidge.
It's an 18-month process, after the application process, until these families get to move into their new homes. They will be paying around $350 a month. Sidney Walters, 14, said she already has a growing sense of community. “This house is built on nothing but God and helping others, and it's not for themselves. They're coming together to do all this stuff for us, and I think that's awesome," said Walters.
Sandidge said Saturday that most of the funds to help these families have been exhausted, and that she hopes more businesses and people step up to donate.
Vilonia Disaster Recover Alliance
Apostolic Christian World Relief
United Methodist Committee on Relief
Habitat for Humanities and VDRA plans to build a total of 40 new homes for tornado survivors that lost their homes due to the tornado that occurred on April 27, 2014.