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Families and prisoners getting new opportunity with Habitat for Humanity

A unique effort is underway in Keokuk involving prisoners and Habitat for Humanity.

The old office building on 484 Messenger Road is being turned into a new home for a family in need. Habitat homes have been building up communities and families for 25 years. The home is also giving the volunteers a second chance in society. 

"We are rehabbing from a doctors office and hopefully it will be a nice home when we get done," Coordinator Paul Von Kiedrowski said.  

484 Messenger Road is where volunteers are working hard to rebuild a new home for a family in need. 

"Everything on the inside has to be torn out and we had to start all over," Terry Lovell said. "It’s a challenge and it takes more time to do it." 

This project is unlike any other. Construction coordinators have been working with prisoners from the state correctional department. 

"It’s another way of giving back to the community, another way of getting connected to the community," Lovell said. "When you are behind bars in prison, it’s the same old, same old everyday and you don’t get that contact with people outside." 

Giving them an opportunity, just like the Pullinger family who moved into their home on 7th and High Street last year. 

"We never thought we would own a home, renting was our only option," Trevor Pullinger said. "It’s wonderful because you can change things and just really take care of it and invest." 

Habitat officials said the homes aren’t just given to the families, the program works with families to pay the mortgage and property taxes with the end goal of revitalizing the community. 

"We’ve tried to build homes all over the community to help each neighborhood and improve it with a new home," Tim Peevler, Habitat for Humanity Board President  said. 

The plan is to have the home complete by the end of this year and since the program started, more than 20 families have moved into new homes in the city.

The program is focused on serving low-income families. A family must be able to pay the low monthly mortgage payments, tax, and insurance. The homeowner must be willing to invest 400 community service hours or ‘sweat equity.’ 

You can apply online by sending an email to and you send it in the mail at P.O. Box 314 Keokuk, Ia 52632 or by telephone at 319-524-8541.


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