Nonprofit's housing work continues, expands with new partner

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A local nonprofit begins the New Year with a new moniker but its mission stays the same: as of Jan. 1, Kilgore Habitat for Humanity will move forward as the Kilgore Fuller Center for Housing, changing both its name and national affiliation.

According to board members for the local initiative, “The organization will continue to provide housing assistance for qualified lower income families in the greater Kilgore area.”

The Fuller Center for Housing (FCH) was formed in 2005 by Linda and Millard Fuller, who founded Habitat for Humanity in 1976.

FCH is a 501c3 nonprofit that aims to eliminate poverty through “collaborative and innovative partnership” aimed at rehabilitating housing and building new homes for people in need.

After guiding Habitat for almost 30 years, “The Fullers decide that to further their vision and mission they would create FCH, with a somewhat different operating philosophy, to continue their grass-roots and Christ-centered mission of eliminating poverty housing around the world,” according to a local press release provided by David Hampton, executive director of the newly-christen KFCH.

Since its inception in 2005, the Fullers' nonprofit has cultivated partnerships in 70 U.S. communities and 20 foreign countries.

“The local Habitat for Humanity board of directors felt the need to look for an alternative to the increasing demands and requirements that the national Habitat organization was placing on their local affiliates including not allowing the local Kilgore affiliate to continue operating the Habitat ReStore,” according to this week's press release. “After much research, deliberation and discussion, which included entertaining the prospects of merging with another Habitat for Humanity affiliate or moving forward as a standalone entity, it was decided that a new affiliation with FCH would best serve the needs of the residents of Kilgore and help assure that our local community did not lose control of such a vitally important organization.”

Working with FCH, the Kilgore operation will expand its service area from the city limits to the boundaries of Kilgore ISD. Likewise, as KFCH, the organization will continue to partner with churches and other groups for local home repairs.

Meanwhile, the former Habitat ReStore here (established in 2014) will be re-dubbed the Kilgore Fuller Center for Housing ReUse Store. Operations will continue as usual from 8 a.m. to noon Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 503 S. Commerce St.

As Kilgore Habitat for Humanity, the organization has built 15 new houses in Kilgore in addition to renovation projects on 180-plus residences in the community. Moving forward as KFCH, the local organization is aiming to launch a 16th home project in 2018.

“Sample people, place, purpose and practice, just a new name,” Hampton said. “We want our loyal and generous donors to know that their donations will be used for Kilgore families in our local community.

“We would invite you to visit our ReUse Store location and our prayer is that you will continue to support our efforts as we continue our ministry of serving the housing needs of those low and moderate income families in and around Kilgore.”

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