May 4, 2016, was our official opening ceremony for this year’s annual Habitat for Humanity National Women Build. While this date marks the start of construction on Crystal’s home, it wasn’t the beginning of Crystal and her family’s home ownership journey.
One of the biggest misconceptions I often hear from volunteers and the general public is that they believe Habitat homeowners are GIVEN a house. In reality, homeowners in our program assume the responsibility of a 20 to 30-year mortgage. (Habitat partner families cannot qualify for a conventional loan because of the added fees and high interest rate.) Crystal is receiving a affordable loan and her monthly payment will be pooled with other partner families’ monthly payments to help pay for building future homes.
Crystal, and all of our partner families, must financially qualify and complete an extensive program before the first nail is driven. After credit approval is complete, partner families are required to perform 250 sweat equity hours, complete nine weeks of the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace course, and other home ownership education classes. Typically, a minimum of 50 hours must be spent building other partner families’ homes, 25 hours in the Habitat Restore, and 50 hours are reserved for working on their own home. Partner families are often actively involved in their community, church, and they are employed full-time.
As the 2016 Women Build homeowner, Crystal has completed the majority of her requirements and is currently finishing her 50 sweat equity hours on her own home. Many of the Women Build volunteers have stated how meaningful it has been working alongside Crystal. Whenever Crystal isn’t building with the volunteers, she has made it a priority to arrive at the home site prior to going to work, to welcome and thank all of the volunteers.
The Women Build is unique as it is a partnership between Lowe’s Home Improvement and Habitat for Humanity International. The focus of our Women Build is two-fold; it is about empowering the women who volunteer and about raising the necessary funding to build the home. All donations are being used to pay for the building materials to make this build possible. Habitat depends on donations from individuals and businesses, along with the profits from our Restore. In addition, we continually strive to find ways to reduce costs and to support our mission.
Last week we reached the halfway mark in the construction of Crystal’s new home and in collecting the funds for the building materials. Additional contributions would be greatly valued and used towards Crystal’s home building journey.
Donations can be mailed to Habitat for Humanity of Elkhart County, P.O. Box 950, Goshen, IN 46527, or please visit our website at www.habitatec.com.
Amy L. Zakiewicz