HANFORD — Although it’s technically been open for several weeks, Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore location in Hanford held its grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday morning.
“This is a celebration not just of Hanford, but of Kings County,” Deanna Saldana, resource development director at Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties, said.
Habitat for Humanity is based on the idea that everyone deserves to have a decent place to live and the organization focuses on first-time home ownership through community partnership. Its motto is “A hand up, not a hand-out.”
The ReStore, located at 415 W. Lacey Blvd., is essentially a home improvement thrift store. Donations of new and used items related to the home, including appliances, furniture, ceiling fans, light fixtures, paint, tools and other items are sold at the store.
Saldana said the ReStore gives community members a place to get rid of items that are still in good condition and can be repurposed, without having them end up in landfills.
Money from the sale of ReStore items is used to support Habitat for Humanity’s home ownership and home repair programs.
Saldana said the goal is to change the path for people who may not have been able to become homeowners without Habitat for Humanity.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was a joint effort between the Hanford Chamber of Commerce and the Lemoore Chamber of Commerce.
Joey Joslin, executive director of the Hanford Chamber of Commerce, said Habitat for Humanity is an organization that does a lot of great things in the communities it serves and he is thrilled the ReStore will help people from all over Kings County with affordable home ownership.
Joslin said the fact that money from the products sold at the store is used to directly help people in this community is a huge positive.
“It’s an outstanding thing to be a part of and we’re excited to have them here,” Joslin said.
In the home ownership program, community volunteers come together with future homeowners and basically build a house together, including pushing up walls, painting and landscaping.
The future homeowners commit at least 500 hours of “sweat equity” to their future home and purchase the home from Habitat for Humanity when the house is complete. The organization makes the homes affordable to low-income families by offering a long-term zero-interest mortgage.
Along with new construction, Habitat for Humanity also does acquisition and rehabilitation on homes and also has a home repair program for current homeowners who lack the financial or physical ability to maintain their home.
Habitat for Humanity has completed 65 projects in the Tulare County and Kings County areas over the years. The organization already has a ReStore location in Visalia, but wanted to have a presence in Kings County.
The Hanford ReStore opened in mid-June and Dirk Holkeboer, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties, said he has been pleased with sales so far and hopes word of mouth will cause an uptick of visitors and donations.
The next step for Habitat for Humanity is fundraising for its next project. Holkeboer said the organization has purchased a lot on the corner of Kaweah Street and West Cameron Street in Hanford and is in the process of designing the house and identifying a homeowner.
“We hope to be in construction by sometime this fall,” Holkeboer said.
Saldana encourages people to give what they can because everything helps.
“As you start building up the community investment, then Habitat will be building the houses,” Saldana said. “Once the community gets involved like that, we can’t help but go forward.”