Joplin, Mo. — Hundreds of Joplin residents lost their place to live 10-years ago. Thanks to the efforts of an area organization, Stephanie Roper, and many others like her, now have a place of their own.

Roper always joked that pigs would fly before she be able to own her own house. “I would probably still be renting in a not so nice neighborhood living pay check to paycheck,” said Stephanie Roper, Habitat homeowner.

Thanks to the Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity, and some of the companies, churches, individuals and organizations that support their mission, that changed in 2013.

“Oh, I would just say thank you, and that’s not even enough. To be able to be a homeowner and have a house to call my own and do what I want and have a yard. It’s just been a blessing ten times over,” she said.

While most homeowners dread the up keep that comes with that, she doesn’t mind a bit.

“I get excited when it’s time to mow the yard, because I get to keep it the way I want it and I can change the flowers and do what I want. So, no, it’s awesome,” she explained.

When something inside or out needs some TLC, she knows just where to go.

“I go to the Restore quite often when ever I need something, I always go there first to see if they’ve got it before I go anywhere else, but Habitat has some wonderful programs to help homeowners. I mean not just Habitat owners, they’re very involved in their community,” said Roper.

“Stephanie’s is one of 46 of the 176 homes we build after the tornado funded by a church or a faith based organization,” said Scott Clayton, Ex. Director of Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity.

If you think it’s rewarding to be the recipient of a Habitat home, just imagine how good it feels to turn over the keys to a new homeowner, which he’s had the chance to do a lot over the last 10 years.

“Currently, we have nine homes under construction and we have a couple more to get started this year, so we’re excited for another good year,” said Clayton.

Building homes is just part of the Habitat mission.

“Our Restore is open Monday through Saturday, a place to find discounted items, Our “Brush With Kindness” is light exterior repairs for homeowners in need. Also, “Critical Home Repair” which we’ve been doing for a couple of years now, where we do more major rehab. So, we encourage you to contact us and find out more about our programs,” said Clayton.