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Transforming homes through renovation

A conversation with Kyler Goodwin, senior construction supervisor

Affordable housing is at the core of Habitat for Humanity of Omaha’s mission. In addition to building new homes, we look for existing houses that can be renovated and sold to first-time homeowners in our city.

Habitat Omaha Senior Construction Supervisor Kyler Goodwin explained the renovation journey, saying it takes about a year to go from selecting a house to turning over the keys. The process begins by identifying a house that has the potential to be renovated. Usually, the houses selected are in need of repair and have fallen vacant due to complicated title issues. In other cases, an owner seeks out Habitat Omaha in the hopes of donating a house, making way for it to become someone else’s home.

Once a house is selected, the path to restoration is created. While honoring the history and integrity of the home and neighborhood, Habitat Omaha moves forward to modify the house in ways that range from a light touch-up to a complete renovation.

Many of our renovated houses are in historic neighborhoods and have already had a long life of providing safe shelter for families. Kyler sees real quality in houses that were built 100 years ago and enjoys thinking about how, once renovated, they will continue to provide shelter for decades to come.

Every home renovation is unique in process and outcome. In some, wood floors are refinished. In others, staircases are updated to meet code, and layouts are opened up to make the space more functional. In full renovations, everything inside is new, from insulation and walls to bathroom fixtures and floors, with an emphasis on making the home energy efficient. Often, unique aspects of the original home can be reused in new ways, maintaining the character of the home.

Potential homebuyers are shown several houses before selecting the one that fits their family’s needs. Once a family has chosen a house, they work alongside the Habitat Omaha team, completing up to 350 hours of sweat equity to help build their house and the homes of others.

Kyler was born and raised in Omaha and remains passionate about the community. He sees how Habitat Omaha’s home renovations are continuing to increase access to quality, affordable housing. Each renovation provides a safer, more stable house for the family who lives there, while also helping to strengthen the community. This work is what drew Kyler to Habitat Omaha, and he hopes to see it continue to thrive. Habitat Omaha renovates an average of 6-10 houses a year.