Banks partner to build home for family in need

May 28, 2019

A Sioux Falls family will move into a new home later this year thanks to a first-of-its-kind effort by area banks.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sioux Falls is calling it the Bank Build. The project started after a banking industry leader suggested it to the nonprofit.

“The banking industry is very philanthropic within our community and responded with an overwhelming amount of support to the idea,” said Rocky Welker, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sioux Falls.

“There are many banks, regardless of size, that are finding ways to contribute to the project.”

The lead banks partnering to raise more than $65,000 for the project were CorTrust Bank, First Premier Bank, Reliabank, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.

“Numerous other banks have also committed time and financial resources to make this possible,” Welker said, adding 100 percent of the donations will go directly toward the cost of construction materials such as lumber, concrete, nails and windows.

The four-bedroom, two-bathroom home has 952 square feet of living space and is the long-awaited dream of Jacob Lual, his wife, Elizabeth Jook, and their two children.

Lual immigrated to Sioux Falls in 2001 when he was 16 as one of the 4,000 “Lost Boys” of Sudan. Six years later, he reunited with his parents in Sudan after being separated during the country’s civil war. He and Jook were married in Africa in 2008, and she immigrated with their two children in 2015. Lual works at Grand Prairie Foods in Sioux Falls, and an autoimmune disease limits his wife from working.

Lual had applied unsuccessfully with Habitat for Humanity a couple of times but kept trying. He was selected in 2017.

He was familiar with the organization because he had worked on a Habitat house when he was in high school.  He knows there will be a lot of benefit for his family when they are in their own home. His wife will be able to do better, and his children will be safe, Welker said.

“He will be able to save and build credit and to help his children financially as they grow and eventually pursue college.  Currently, the family lives in a three-bedroom apartment that is cost-burdening and has maintenance issues. They are looking forward to becoming homeowners in 2019.”

Part of the home was built indoors and moved recently to its new lot in northeast Sioux Falls.

Bank team members are volunteering to help build the home in addition to their employers’ financial contributions. The plan is to have the house completed in September.

Banks partner to build home for family in need

A Sioux Falls family will move into a new home later this year thanks to a first-of-its-kind effort by area banks.

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