Habitat for Humanity looking to partner with families in need of a home
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The road to home ownership can be tedious and maybe a little labor intensive.
“The final construction of a house typically takes us three to four months,” said Megan Culp, family services director for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge.
However, the reward at the end of the Habitat for Humanity home ownership program is far greater than money can buy.
“It’s not a quick fix. We’re not an emergency housing program. We’re not an emergency repair program. It really is about families that are willing to commit a lot of time and energy to their dream, then we’ll commit it to their dream as well,” Culp said.
Now is the chance for low income families interested in starting a new life to apply for home ownership through Habitat. The application process is open until Feb. 28. Families are chosen based on “need, ability to pay a monthly mortgage, willingness to partner, and Louisiana residency.”
“So they submit an application with income documentation and we do an initial review of that with their credit,” Culp explained. “We look to see if they have the ability to repay a mortgage.”
If families are approved by the board, they begin the nearly two-year program working toward qualifying for the mortgage to buy the home. That process includes a financial literacy and credit repair program, which brings home ownership just a paintbrush or nail gun away.
“They do at least 255 hours of what we call ‘sweat equity,’” Culp said.
She says families work on the construction site of their future home and the homes of other families going through the same process.
“Our goal is not just to sell someone a house,” Culp said. “That is not that hard to do. What we want is for someone to become a successful homeowner, so they have the skills and the knowledge to be able to keep their home.”
Qualifying homeowners also learn what it takes to maintain their new space. “All our families are low income families and they’re on tight budgets. The more they can do on their own to maintain and repair their house and keep it in good shape for the long term, the better it’s going to work for them,” Culp said.
Leaders of the non-profit say the goal is to house at least 30 families this year. More than 300, 3 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom homes in the greater Baton Rouge area were built by Habitat for Humanity and families in their program. “I think they’re probably better prepared homeowners than most people that buy houses because they will have done a lot more. They’re also invested in their home and invested in their community,” said Culp.
If families are willing to put in the work, Habitat leaders say they’re ready to make dreams a reality. Applications can be submitted in person at either of the two ReStore locations or at the Habitat office located at 6554 Florida Blvd., Suite 200, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Applications can also be found online at habitatbrla.org or by calling 225-927-6651
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