2023 marks our thirtieth anniversary with two dates significant to Rose Rock Habitat: the first, March 18th, marks the day in 1993 when the organization, presently known as Rose Rock Habitat for Humanity, filed our articles of incorporation with the State of Oklahoma; the second, July 1st, marks the day we received our letter of recognition from Habitat for Humanity International. In this series we will retrospect upon the legacy of our organization.
Part One: A Brief History of Rose Rock Habitat for Humanity
Before being officially recognized by Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI), an organization called Norman Habitat for Humanity was already hard at work. Norman Habitat for Humanity broke ground on its first home at 412 Stewart Street on April 17th, 1993. The home was to be built for Larry and Connie Phillips and their three children. At the time, Larry and Connie were living with their children in a small 2-bedroom house in poor condition. The construction manager at the time, Chris Goldsby, said that the home was constructed for about $16,000. Norman Habitat’s first home had its ribbon-cutting on June 11th, 1994. Mere Months following the completion of Norman Habitat’s first home, a campus chapter at University of Oklahoma was in its inceptive stages. Campus chapters often partner with a standalone affiliate to aid the affiliate with fundraising and educating the community about the importance of affordable housing. By December 1993, the OU campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity was officially formed, having completed its first meeting, and naming its steering committee.
Throughout the history of Norman Habitat, Cleveland County Habitat, and now Rose Rock Habitat, the organization has made its assistance available in the aftermath of natural disasters. Norman Habitat for Humanity worked alongside Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity to help with recovery from the catastrophic tornadoes during the 1999 Oklahoma tornado outbreak occurring on May 3rd of that year. In August of 2012, Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity collected items for families who were affected by the aggressive wildfires that happened that summer. Items that were already in the organization’s ReStore were given to affected families free of charge. Continuing the tradition, Rose Rock Habitat for Humanity is providing ongoing disaster recovery cleanup services in response to the recent tornado damage in east Norman.
At the start of the new millennium, Norman Habitat chose to change its name to Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity. The new name better reflected the area that the organization was serving, having built in Moore for the first time in 1999. In the year 2000, Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity also chose to open a resale store to raise funds for Habitat’s mission. Along with raising money to build more homes, Habitat for Humanity ReStores divert tons of valuable building materials, furniture, appliances, and tools from the local landfill. To gain the space needed for the ReStore, the newly christened Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity moved for the first time. Habitat was at the Community Services Building since 1993 and moved to 1835 Industrial Boulevard on September 15th, 2000. The location at Industrial Boulevard served Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity for fifteen years, but in 2015 Habitat needed an even bigger building to increase its ability to help an expanding community—Cleveland County Habitat began building homes in Noble in 2007. The building at 1100 West Main Street was a grocery store for as long as anybody could remember but starting July 31, 2015, it became the home of Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity. The new (and current) location of Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity would double the floor space of the old location on Industrial Boulevard and would be much more noticeable near the heart of Norman.
Last year, Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity underwent another transformation; In a decision based on the need it saw in surrounding counties, the organization decided to begin taking steps to formally expand its service area. Among the obstacles to the expansion of the service area for Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity was, in fact, the name of the organization. The affiliate which, until that time, had been known as ‘Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity’ decided to take on a name that is more emblematic of South-Central Oklahoma as a region: Rose Rock Habitat for Humanity.
Continue reading about this series by hopping over to Our Story So Far: Part Two