Habi­tat ded­i­cates 70th newly built home

The Saline Courier - - FRONT PAGE - By Elisha Mor­ri­son el­[email protected]­ton­courier.com

Dur­ing its 20th year of serv­ing the peo­ple of Sa­line County, Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity of Sa­line County has reached an­other mile­stone — its 70th new house build.

Habi­tat Di­rec­tor Stephanie Grif­fin pointed out that be­cause the or­ga­ni­za­tion also re­cy­cles homes that have come back to them, the num­ber of fam­i­lies served is even higher.

“When you put the num­bers to­gether it’s in­cred­i­ble,” she said.

She added that the mile­stone makes her re­flect on the 69 other

new home­own­ers who had a home built for them and those who live in the re­cy­cled homes.

This home ded­i­ca­tion, which was held Tues­day, is the third this year. Two more a planned to be held soon.

“Habi­tat is a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity for qual­i­fied Sa­line County res­i­dents who are look­ing for an af­ford­able hous­ing op­tion,” Grif­fin said.

Grif­fin explained that Habi­tat reviews each home­owner ap­pli­ca­tion the same way a bank does for its loans. They look into the ap­pli­cant’s income and ex­penses. If the ap­pli­cants meet the cri­te­ria un­der the HUD guide­lines, Habi­tat does a home visit to de­ter­mine the need. Grif­fin said Habi­tat looks to see if the ap­pli­cant is pay­ing too much for rent, is their res­i­dence in a run­down con­di­tion, is it too small for the fam­ily and other fac­tors.

If the ap­pli­cant fits Habi­tat’s cri­te­ria, the ap­pli­ca­tion goes to the board of di­rec­tors for ap­proval.

Once an ap­pli­cant is ap­proved they must save up a $500 down pay­ment and put in 25 sweat eq­uity hours vol­un­teer­ing with Habi­tat be­fore work can be­gin on their home.

Be­fore Habi­tat closes on the loan, the ap­pli­cant needs to have made a $1,000 down pay­ment and worked 300 sweat eq­uity hours plus an ad­di­tional 150 hours for each ad­di­tional adult in the home.

The new home­owner will have a 0-per­cent in­ter­est

20- to 30-year mort­gage they will pay off. The home­owner pays the cost of the home. There is no profit be­ing made.

“They simply get a great hand-up op­por­tu­nity,” Grif­fin said, adding get­ting them into an af­ford­able home helps the home­owner’s fi­nan­cial fu­ture.

The 70th home was built with the help of the Arkansas Devel­op­ment Fi­nance Au­thor­ity, which is help­ing with sev­eral af­fil­i­ates across the state.

Grif­fin said none of the af­fil­i­ates re­ceive any fund­ing from Habi­tat In­ter­na­tional. They are each in­de­pen­dent and re­spon­si­ble for raising funds for each house they build or re­cy­cle.

“Habi­tat def­i­nitely ap­pre­ci­ates the nu­mer­ous spon­sors over the years, both cor­po­rate and in­de­pen­dent, who have helped build th­ese 70 homes,” Grif­fin said.

She is al­ways look­ing for more spon­sors who want to help in any way they can and vol­un­teers.

The next Habi­tat build will be Apos­tles Build, held Sept. 7 and 9 through 13.

She said it is open to any­one in­ter­ested in vol­un­teer­ing. She encourages those who would like to help out to call the of­fice or email [email protected]­tat­salinecoun­t­yar. org.

Habi­tat is tak­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for new home­own­ers. There is an ap­pli­cant meet­ing planned soon. Any­one in­ter­ested can call 501-3155434.

Grif­fin said she is look­ing for­ward to the next 20 years and the next 70 homes.

ELISHA MOR­RI­SON/THE Sa­line Courier

Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity of Sa­line County Di­rec­tor Stephanie Grif­fin, right, hands new home­owner Regina Carter the keys to the 70th home built by Habi­tat in Sa­line County dur­ing a home ded­i­ca­tion Tues­day.

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