Habitat for Humanity partners with WSU to build home near campus for family of five


Jordan Plowman / The Sunflower

Everyone helps raise the first wall at the wall raising ceremony hosted by Wichita Habitat for Humanity and Wichita State University on Dec. 1.

On Dec. 1, Habitat for Humanity and Wichita State University held a wall raising ceremony after partnering to build a home for a family of five in the community directly surrounding WSU.  

Speakers at the event included Danielle Johnson, Executive Director for Habitat for Humanity, Richard Muma, president of WSU, and Brandon Johnson, Vice Mayor of City of Wichita.  The family was also there to speak and help raise the first wall.

Johnson thanked both Muma and Vice President of Student Affairs Terri Hall for seeing the importance of community and community partnerships.  She said that WSU is showing up for the community with action, and not just words.

“Strong partners make strong partnerships and make strong opportunities within our community,” she said.

Johnson also highlighted some of the WSU groups that will be volunteering to help build the home, including the WSU foundation, the WSU Shocker Neighborhood Scholars, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, along with many others.

“We want to make sure that we continue to push that volunteer spirit so please make sure that you sign up,” she said.  “Right now our most critical time is these next few weeks so we want to make sure that you all here helping to build this amazing home… We’re able to help support another family.”

In Muma’s speech, he talked about different initiatives that WSU is working on in the community, including a full-ride scholarship program for high school students in the Shocker community as well as development of food options and other services in the neighborhood’s directly surrounding the university.

“Wichita State has been here for 126 years and we have been the foundation of this part of the community,” Muma said.  “We’ve recently taken on new strides to further our commitment to the community … We’re so pleased to be a part of this.”

Johnson, who represents district one where the house is located, said that today’s event kicked off a vibrant partnership between two entities that have a history of making long-lasting differences in the city of Wichita and beyond.

“Everyday as I represent district one and meet with the people who call it home, I see the impact that Wichita State has here and beyond as well,” he said.

Johnson said that he has had the chance to see firsthand how the community is being positively impacted by Habitat for Humanity.

“The impact that Wichita habitat has had on our city, especially in district one, has been amazing, especially having all of these new families and young people here,” he said.  “I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of those folks and hearing how owning an affordable home has changed their life and children’s futures. 

“I’ve also heard from neighbors who have lived here for many years and they told me how much they appreciate having new homes replace boarded up homes in vacant lots.”

Ann Patterson, a board member for Wichita Habitat for Humanity for over 16 years, said that the family worked hard to achieve this dream through 400 hours of “sweat equity” building the homes for others as well as taking 40 hours of financial literacy and home maintenance courses.

“The couple applied to the habitat program because they wanted to provide their children with a permanent, stable home,” Patterson said. “Andy has always lived in apartments, and his goal was to be a homeowner.  He wants to live in a caring community where his family will know their neighbors.  The couple wants their children to be able to make friends with the children who live on their street, and I know that’s going to happen.”

Patterson said that the family is currently renting an apartment in an unsafe area where they hear gunshots at night.  The house will have a 0% mortgage, and their monthly payment will be much less than what they were paying for rent, giving the family the opportunity to save money.

Andy Nugent, father of the family, said that they were blessed and thankful for WSU and Habitat for Humanity, and how they changed his life because he never thought he would own a home.

“I’d just like to thank my lord and savior Jesus Christ for creating me, and giving me this beautiful wife,” Nugent said.  ““I’m just getting goosebumps right now because it’s just such a miracle and such a blessing for the community to come together and give us this amazing gift.  I can’t even put into words how thankful we are.”

Aliette Kayitesi, mother of the family, said that it was hard for her family to live in that apartment.

“I want to thank the Lord Almighty,” Kayitesi said.  “My last home that I had in Africa was bombed, then we ran away and scattered so we didn’t have a home anymore.  This is a very big miracle for me, I have a home again, praise the Lord.  I want to thank Habitat for Humanity for everything they have done for us… I thank WSU for everything you have done for us.”

The last speaker, Hanisha Bahati, the homeowner’s 12-year-old daughter, gave a blessing to the project before the wall’s were officially raised.

“We ask you, loving Father, to bless everyone who is here with us today, our friends and family and the pillars of this community, so that each one will continue in the work of building homes for the community,” Bahati said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The front page of Dec. 2’s issue mistakenly credited a Danielle Johnson quote to Brandon Johnson.  This story reflects the correct changes.