From staff reports
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Tornado victims who lost homes can meet area builders and survey some of their work during a “Meet the Builders” event today.
Seminars on everything from storm shelters to green building will be conducted throughout the day.
Crystal Harrington, executive officer with the Home Builders Association of Southwest Missouri, said the group’s members have been inundated since the storm on May 22. The tornado destroyed about 7,000 homes and damaged nearly 900 others in Joplin and Duquesne.
“Everybody is ready,” she said of tornado victims who are eager to rebuild. Builders can’t answer their phones, or they can’t answer them fast enough, she said.
“We thought the best way to handle it was to urge the builders to come in, set up a booth, bring a portfolio (of the homes they have built) and meet potential homeowners — their potential customers.”
More than 40 builders — all members of the association — are expected to be at today’s session, she said.
Initially, it was targeted toward tornado victims, Harrington said, but the group quickly realized that others are interested in making a change in what has become a buyer’s market.
“It’s the home show, if you will, except no windows and no carpets — all builders,” Harrington said. “These guys will make themselves available to talk to homeowners, or potential homeowners. It is a good situation because these customers can interview several builders.”
The following seminars are planned:
• 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.: “Building Your Credit and Weathering the Financial Storm,” with Tonya Collister, of Consumer Credit Counseling of the Ozarks.
• Noon and 3:30 p.m.: Storm shelters, featuring Jeff Barber of the University of Missouri Extension Service.
• 12:30 and 5:30 p.m.: The Mo-AID program, a state initiative offering assistance with down payments and low-interest loans for qualified borrowers, with Margaret Lineberry of the Missouri Housing Development Commission.
• 1 and 4 p.m.: “Building: The Process in Simple Terms,” with Matt Belcher of Belcher Homes, St. Louis.
• 1:30 and 4:30 p.m.: High-efficiency homes, green building and sustainability, with Belcher.
• 2 and 5 p.m.: A green-building panel discussion and question-and-answer session with area builders, moderated by Belcher.
• 2:30 and 6:30 p.m.: “Jumpstart Joplin,” with Sallie Hemenway, from the Missouri Department of Economic Development, who will talk about tax credits and other incentives available for local builders.
Time and place
THE EVENT, organized by the Home Builders Association of Southwest Missouri, is free to the public. It will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Joplin Holiday Inn Convention Center.