Families don’t have to be homeless to receive a housing help from Habitat for Humanity.
“A lot of families think they have to be homeless and wouldn’t qualify to receive a house,” said Claire Sellars, director of the executive director of Upper Yadkin Valley Habitat for Humanity. “There are families who would qualify for a home, but think they couldn’t get one. Our applicants aren’t homeless. Most of them working full time or are on disability, but aren’t making enough to receive a loan from a commercial bank.”
Families are chosen based off an application process. This summer, Habitat for Humanity is looking for three applicants to live in homes that will be in the Elkin area.
Habitat homeowners are selected based off three areas: housing needs, ability to pay and willingness to partner, Sellars said.
1. Housing needs: Families might be living in overcrowded, substandard or insufficient homes that are falling apart.
2. Ability to pay: “All of our applicants have to fall within income guidelines that are based on the size of the family,” Sellars said.
For example, a family of one must make between $10,550 to $21,210 while a family of five would need to have an annual income of $16,300 to $32,500.
“We look for assurance that the family can make monthly mortgage payments, which range from $325 to $550 a month, and we do a credit check,” Sellars said. “A lot of people think our houses are given away. We do not give houses away, we just offer interest free mortgage payments, which is huge.”
The families also have a criminal background check and complete financial applications like they would at a bank. They are then reviewed to see if they family would be able to pay for the house.
3. Willingness to Partner: Another way families pay for their homes is through what is known as ‘sweat equity hours.’ These are 300 unpaid hours spent working with Habitat. These hours can be spent doing construction on houses or helping with fundraisers, Sellars said.
Last Saturday, Angela Hernandez and her two teenage children closed on a house in Jonesville and look forward to moving into her new home in Jonesville.
“We are very excited that we closed on Angela’s house at the end of this month and look forward to starting our next house,” Sellars said.
Donations and fundraisers and the mortgage payments made by the homeowners go towards building houses for future homeowners.
“Not only does shopping in our Habitat for Humanity ReStore help raise money, but so does donating items to the store,” Sellars said.
To apply to be a Habitat for Humanity homeowner, call the Habitat office at 526-277. To shop or donate at the Habitat ReStore, visit the shop on 102 East Market Street.
Reach Jessica Pickens at 835-1513 ext. 18 or email@example.com