My niece is a teacher with two small children and is going through an emotional divorce. When I mentioned looking into a Habitat for Humanity home near Chicago, it was as though I was speaking a foreign language. She thought, as many others do, that these houses are given to people. Little did her family realize that the homeowners build and purchase their houses through nonprofit, no-interest mortgages. They also spend hundreds of “sweat” hours working side-by-side with volunteers hammering the abode.
These mortgage payments are placed in a revolving Fund for Humanity to finance the construction of even more houses. Habitat homeowners make a monthly mortgage payment of $350-$375 because they earn between 35 percent and 60 percent of the area median income.
Our Towns Habitat is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit Christian ecumenical ministry open to all faiths. It partners with many groups to eliminate substandard housing in Davidson, Cornelius, Huntersville and Mooresville. The group, founded in 1988, has served 146 local families as well as 636 Guatemalan families and 15 Sri Lankan families.
A clever feature about the program is that homeowners receive education about credit, budgeting and homeowner skills that provide a sense of accomplishment that I know my niece would really enjoy.
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Locally, Poole Place 2 is the largest project that Our Towns has taken on since 1988. This 46-home neighborhood off Bailey Road in Cornelius has five homes under construction, with six more starting in September. The first phase of Poole Place has 15 homes and was named for longtime habitat volunteer, board member and former Cornelius mayor Winton Poole. When driving by the neighborhood, you might notice signs that say “Adopted Lot.” A $5,000 donation is for the foundation of the next home and allows families or groups to honor/remember a loved one with a sign in front of the home. Five Poole Place lots have been adopted.
Another way to help is by donating your old kitchen or bathroom if you are remodeling your home. Habitat has a ReStore that sells items to fund these projects. You can donate bathroom and kitchen cabinets, light fixtures, interior/exterior doors and sinks. There is a “deconstruct team” that will come to your home and deliver to the ReStore. If you want to donate a tax deductible item, call 704-896-8957, extension 1110. If you want to be a part of the destruct team, e-mail Cathy Huddle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One byproduct of the ReStore is the reduction to local landfills. Last year, 695.69 tons of items were sold. This year, 334.45 tons were sold from January to June. For further information, check www.ourtownshabitat.org.
So many Davidson residents are involved in helping others realize the dream of home ownership. Jimmy Carter gave a moving speech in Mississippi, where he said: “We often talk about human rights. But what about the most basic human rights? The right of every person to live a decent life, to live in a decent home, to have a decent job, to be able to feed their families, and to have decent health care.”
You never know when or who may need help. I sure hope my niece can get resettled in a home, raise my great-niece and great-nephew and teach art to lucky middle school students. Dreams can come true!
If you live in a community that has a homeowners association, you might want to consider nominating a volunteer for exemplary service by Aug. 15. Awards will be given during lunch in Charlotte on Sept. 27 for the North Carolina Chapter of the Community Associations Institute (CAI-NC) conference. The chapter will also present a Community Manager of the Year award for outstanding work. To download the form, click on www.cai-nc.org.