Habitat for Humanity creates exciting opportunity for Norfolk family

June 21, 2018 GMT

A Norfolk family will soon move into their new home made possible by Habitat for Humanity’s Norfolk branch.

Rebecca Tangeman and her three children will move into the newly built home at 306 N. 10th St. It was constructed by Habitat for Humanity in partnership with the USDA Rural Development, Northeast Community College and Northeast Economic Development District.

“I absolutely loved the process,” Tangeman said. “They kept me involved throughout.”

Tangeman, originally from Madison, had lived in Topeka, Kan., for 10 years before moving to Norfolk. Once back, she applied for a Habitat home a year and a half ago.

Despite the long wait, she said it was worth it because she was able to work closely with Habitat representatives, who helped make the home feel like their own.

“There are budgets, but you get to pick out flooring, siding, shingles and colors,” she said, beaming.


That involvement was particularly exciting for her three children: 13-year-old Savina, 12-year-old Sevastian and 10-year-old Sevonte Tangeman.

“(The rooms) look all nice and calm, except ours,” Sevastian said of the bright blue room he will share with Sevonte.

The three spoke excitedly about the blue room, before rushing into Savina’s deceptively colored room.

“My room looks blue, but it’s actually purple,” she said, as she turned on the light. “I like it.”

In Norfolk, the Tangeman home marks the 29th Habitat home in the city. And it’s just one example of similar homes built across Nebraska communities such as Grand Island, Lincoln and Omaha.

The aim is to put qualifying families into affordable housing, said Donna Rector, executive director for Norfolk’s Habitat chapter, at a press conference Tuesday.

“It’s a hand up, not a hand out,” she said. “This family will be purchasing the home through Habitat ... and payments will be used to build more homes.”

Rector added that families typically sign a mortgage that her organization carries with zero interest.

Habitat for Humanity’s homes are not only beneficial for the families who buy them, but also to the community at large because construction is done largely by Northeast Community College students, she said. Student carpenters, electricians and plumbers are involved, with the help from those studying heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.

“The students get more experience by building these homes — because they are on site — than the ones they build at the school,” Rector said.

Mike Frank, construction manager on the project, supervised about 35 Northeast students who built the home. He said about 200 to 300 man hours went into the home’s construction.

Tangeman said she has watched the whole process unfold, and has kept track of major milestones.

“I’ve got pictures of it from a slab, all the way (up),” she said. “I’ve been telling everyone, I’m excited.”