Two Rivers Habitat for Humanity, which includes the counties of Olmsted, Steele, Waseca, Dodge and Wabasha, announced that they will build a twin home on a lot in north east Chatfield. The lot with a house was purchased at a tax forfeited auction several years ago. Often these houses can be repurposed but in this case it will need to be torn down. Before the house is completely razed, any usable material in the house will be saved for possible resale at the ReStore in Rochester. Demolition of the house will be done this fall with construction of the twin home to be started next spring. Because of the lot size, it was decided that a twin home could be built on it; enabling two families to benefit in becoming homeowners. Each twin home would have three bedrooms, two baths and a one stall garage.
Habitat for Humanity describes itself “as a nonprofit organization that helps families build and improve places to call home. It believes affordable housing plays a critical role in strong and stable communities.” Kevin Worden, executive director of Two Rivers, stated, “ Once a family has an affordable, safe and heathy place to live – getting the housing “monkey” off their back – everything else in life gets better. Careers, education, income, and quality of life all improve after housing gets better. A stable home is the foundation of a stable life.”
The first step in the building process is to build awareness of the project and bring in volunteers to help in the planning and construction. A steering committee will be formed with those in the community, as they are an important part of the process. If you are interested in being a part of the steering committee, you can contact Ryan Kling-Punt, Volunteer and Family Services Manager at (507) 252-0849 ext.4, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Support from the community is crucial and Chatfield Lumber is one area business that is looking forward to supporting this project. Monetary donations are welcomed and may be designated for specific purchases. Whirlpool is donating a refrigerator and a stove and the Top Shop of Rochester Inc. will furnish the countertops for both residences.
Families that are interested in applying to secure a home may contact Kling-Punt to be notified when the selection process begins. When considering families for one of these homes the steering committee looks at three things:
•What are the family’s current living conditions?
•Does the family have a stable income that is high enough to afford a low interest or no interest loan?
•Is the family willing to partner with Habitat for Humanity? Are they willing to provide sweat equity in the construction of their home?
The family chosen for the build would need to pay some closing costs but they would not need a down payment.
Sweat equity is an important part of this project in that the connection between the family and volunteers enhances the experience. Generally a family with two parents is expected to perform up to 500 hours; a single parent, 200 hours. There is a formula that is used to determine the amount of hours. These hours can be earned by working on the house, volunteering to help at the ReStore or Habitat events or attending classes that equip them for home ownership, such as budgeting and expectations of a first time home buyer.