COLUMBIA FALLS, Mont. - Columbia Falls resident Kimmy Bruner said owning a house she and her son Kempton could call their own was just a dream until she was accepted into the Habitat for Humanity program.
"We're not paying rent to something we can leave at anytime, you know? It's something that's ours. Something steady for my son and I," explained Bruner.
On Thursday, Bruner and another young family broke ground on two new townhomes on Mitchell Way. The project is getting a boost thanks to a partnership with Columbia Falls. The city applied and was awarded a $360,000 grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for 8 of the 16 homes. To keep costs low, about 3000 volunteer hours go into each home. Bruner will have to put in about 500 hours of "sweat equity" before she can move in.
"She's energetic, she has a great desire to move out of substandard housing and have a place for her family," said Board of Directors member Hap Peters.
Once her dream home is complete, Bruner and her son hope to pay it forward.
"Once ours is done we'll be helping other families with it and just keep volunteering for them," said Bruner. "[My son] has already talked about helping the other families. I know he's young to do it now but I'm sure it's something he'll always do."
Peters said Habitat gives families more than just a home - "It's really wonderful that the families do better financially, their kids do well in school. It's really a wonderful experience for all of them."