DEXTER, MO (KAIT) – One Region 8 church is gearing up for a Christmas season full of giving, but this year, the largest gift they'll give is one that could change a life. For the last month or so, the First Baptist Church of Dexter has been building a new home at 105 McClard Street. According to church members, the construction began with the church, but now the entire community is getting involved.
"This is a dream that we had to provide housing for a family that has inadequate housing here in our community. We're looking forward to giving the house away in the middle of December sometime to a deserving family that can upgrade their living quarters," said Pastor Steve Easterwood.
Easterwood said the home will be given away to one family who has lived in Dexter for the last year and Stoddard County for the last two years. Other requirements include being a U.S. citizen and have a steady income that will allow the applicant to pay a monthly amount of $300 over an eight year period.
"It's going to be awesome. We're going to dedicate the house in the middle of December and that'll give them time to make the house their own and they'll be able to spend Christmas in the home," said Easterwood. "What we're looking to do is provide a family with a house. They will own the house outright. They will own it in eight years. The deal is, you pay $300 a month for eight years, the church escrows that money and out of it pays taxes and insurance, then at the end of eight years, you get the house free and clear. You also get the money in the savings account, so actually a family could begin a savings account for their kid's college education in addition to owning the house in eight years."
The GRACE HOUSE selection committee will conduct a series of interviews with applicants. Once they find the right family, a special ceremony will be held once the building is complete.
"It shows that God's grace is out there for everyone and it's a great thing to be a part of," said Brock Williams, who is a church member. "It'll definitely change a life."
According to Easterwood, most of the materials in the project have been donated by local businesses and contractors. Volunteers have also donated time to provide labor.
"It's just amazing to me. We had a guy who came by the other day, just walking down the street and said, is this the house you guys are giving away? We said yes and he said well can I help and he just worked for a few hours. We don't even know who he is," said Easterwood. "This house would be between $70,000 and $75,000."
Applications can be picked up at the Dexter First Baptist Church, 11 West Castor Street. The application must be completed by November 22, 2010.
"A lot of families are renting and they just can't seem to get ahead and all that money, they're not going to be able to recoup that money, and so this is a way that a family can pay in essence, a house payment and own a house and maybe they wouldn't be able to otherwise," said Easterwood.
"We're looking for a family that we can help. That can better their spot in life. not that there's just going to be one family that needs that because there's multiple families that need that, but we really have a feeling that our committee, through our discussions that there's going to be one family that shines above the rest, that that's the one that's meant for this house," said Williams.