Tornado Victims Get Home and Shelter in One

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Limestone County, Ala. (WHNT) – The Harbins have been through quite a lot the past couple of years. Their house in East Limestone County was destroyed by the April 27th tornadoes of 2011 while they were still inside the home. They’ve also faced their share of health issues. Right now they’re living in a FEMA shelter, but soon, thanks to Habitat for Humanity, they’ll be moving into a new home.

It’s a standard size for Habitat for Humanity. It’s three bedrooms and around 1150 square feet. But there’s something not-so-standard about this home. Greg Miller is the Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Athens/Limestone County. He says, “This house is built out of insulated concrete forms.  The walls are about a foot thick and can withstand being hit by a tornado.”

Miller says the home can withstand 250 mile per hour winds. The pantry can also double as a safe room. Miller says, “There’s concrete all the way around it. It’s got an 8 inch thick concrete ceiling. This is a bomb shelter above ground.”

A lighter roof also means the summer heat will reflect a lot of heat back.

According to Miller, “The house doesn’t need very much heat or air conditioning to keep it at a good temperature so the Harbins should have a very safe house, a house that won’t ever get termites, and a house that doesn’t cost much to live in.”

The Harbins have lived on this property for more than 50 years and finally have a home they can feel safe in.

Barbara Harbin says, “We just don’t know how to repay them. They’ve been just wonderful with us.”

When the Harbins moved here, there was nothing around them but crops. Now that the area has grown up around them, they are also growing with the times.

Miller says, “They’re very good people and this just makes me feel good. You know we’re helping people who deserve it.”

A contractor who donated his time and supplies, as well as United Way, helped make this home possible. The Harbins move into their new home in two weeks.