The goal of the Fuller Center for Housing of Northwest Louisiana is to build affordable new homes for low-income individuals who currently do not have adequate housing and are unable to obtain adequate financing through other conventional means.
Their vision is to eliminate substandard housing in Shreveport-Bossier and build thriving neighborhoods.
While the Fuller Center for Housing of Northwest Louisiana helps the families asmuch as they can, they do not give the houses away – instead, they partner withapplicants to assist them in achieving the “American Dream” of home ownership,which leads to a reduction in substandard housing, blight and crime in neighborhoods.
Clients must perform 350 hours of “sweat equity,” attend a first-time home-buyer’s workshop, as well as go through credit counseling and other reviews in the application process. The recipients then pay a 20-year mortgage with no interest. The proceeds are then returned to the organization to support building more homes, changing lives and helping communities. Homeowners are also encouraged to be active participants in the community in which they live.
The Fuller Center houses are generally between 1,000 square feet and 1,500 square feet and are either three-bedroom/two-bath or four-bedroom/two bath homes. Since they seek to build communities, not just houses, care is taken to assure that the houses are attractive and – to the extent they remain affordable – distinctive. Choosing welcoming paint colors and making shutters out of leftover wood are some of the creative things they have done.
Another program the Fuller Center has is the Greater Blessing program geared toward the elderly and/or disable homeowners on a below the poverty level income and upon selection, which encourages volunteering on their home and tithing to the organization to assist with the cost of rehabilitation to provide for future recipients needs.
Understanding that vibrant neighborhoods consist of a variety of stabilizing elements in addition to decent housing, including active commerce, accessible social services and safe recreation, the Fuller Center revitalizes and makes neighborhoods safer so they can help residents with the crucial support systems necessary to lift their families out of systemic poverty and build a different future for their children.
To date, they Fuller Center has built 49 new homes, repaired 66 owner-occupied homes, built six wheelchair ramps, have 100 percent of their newly built homes owner-occupied (93 percent of their homeowners are the original applicants), 84 percent of their homeowners are currently paying their mortgages on time, and have an economic investment of more than $3.5 million in the Shreveport/BossierCity area.
But they couldn’t do all of this without volunteers from the local community helping them. They are always looking for help with all aspects of home building and have both construction and non-construction volunteer opportunities available. So you do not need to be an expert in construction to help out on a work site. There are many tasks requiring only a willingness to learn and work with others. They make every effort to incorporate all of the willing volunteers regardless of their skill level. All volunteers on the construction site must be at least 16 years of age or older. And best of all, they work rain or shine!