by marlys good
This “house next door” is not just any house, for anybody. This house, being renovated into two, two-bedroom apartments, will be for single mothers who need a place to live, a place they can afford, a place to feel safe while they put their futures together and get their lives back on track.
“Renovators” are Dave Havener, pastor of the Greybull Alliance Church, and his wife Brenda, who saw a need that was not being met in the community. “We kept saying someone should do something about that; eventually God said, ‘Why don’t you do something about it?’ We got the message,” Dave said.
The Haveners own a home at 540 Third Ave. S. The house next door, which had belonged to the late Greg and Shirley Stockwell, has stood vacant since Shirley’s death three years ago. The Haveners kept hoping “someone nice” would buy the house so they’d have good neighbors, but it didn’t happen.
Turned out it was the answer to their prayer. Dave and Brenda purchased the “house next door” the end of February and began their personal ministry.
“The house was in good shape, the ‘bones’ were good,” Havener laughed. “We were very thankful for that. We are working on putting it together as an “upstairs; downstairs (basement); two apartments for a couple of families, each with two bedrooms.”
One of the first steps was to install egress windows/doors in what will be the basement apartment. Chad Yost, who lives just down the street from the Haveners, did that for them.
The two said the “church has supported us, but it (project) is not a ministry of the church. We’ve had two or three helping us out, but everybody has a lot of stuff going on; but we’ll get there,” Havener said optimistically. “We’re keeping up with it.”
As a team, Brenda is the designated “painter and wood-finisher. She’s a good painter; that is a real plus,” Haverner laughed. She has also stripped and finished the wood moldings and “they turned out wonderfully.”
He’s quick to admit that “I have no carpentry skills; but I’m very good at demolishing; I tear things out pretty well,” and there has been lots of that.
Havener said, “We were really looking at an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. My mom was a single mom (Dave and two younger sisters). I feel for people like that; I know it is a tough way to go. There are so many good people struggling who don’t have any support system. They need help to know what they can do. We hope to provide some of that assistance. Maybe help them put a budget together, find out how they can better themselves.”
Havener said it is “a work in progress. We had some ideas, contacted someone in Florida who does something similar. It was very helpful to see how they did things.” He incorporated many of those ideas, explaining, “Why would I want to reinvent the wheel? They have done it and it works.”
Will there be more houses next door?
“We’ll see where the Lord leads us, what God tells us. It all depends on His guidance and His provisions. God still wants to teach us things. I am still learning those lessons all the time.”