Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity

By Robyn McKinley

When people hear the words Habitat for Humanity, they automatically think of an organization that gives out free homes. Habitat for Humanity is an organization that encourages home ownership through a no interest loan for people who might otherwise not be able to afford one.

Habitat for Humanity was started in 1965, when an American self-made millionaire Millard Fuller came to a major crossroads in his life. He and his family moved to an interracial Christian farming community in South West Georgia. In 1969 Millard launched a program of “partnership housing,” building homes in partnership with rural neighbors who were too poor to qualify for conventional home loans. He raised funds and bought construction materials, the community volunteered to build the homes to keep costs down, and the new owners paid back the costs into a revolving fund which was then used to build other houses.

In 1984, former president Jimmy Carter and his first wife Rosalynn took their first Habitat work trip, the Jimmy Carter Work Project, to New York City. Their personal involvement in Habitats ministry brought the organization national visibility and sparked interest in Habitats work across the nation.

Jubilee Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1992 and is a local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity. It is a non-profit Christian ministry working to build simple and decent housing in Jacksonville and Morgan County. Volunteers and partner families build their own homes. Families then move into the homes and repay Habitat by making monthly payments. Jubilee Habitat makes no profit and charges no interest on the mortgage for the home. They will be starting on their 22nd house this year. Currently they are working on their 21st home, a cute little bungalow located on Huber Street, which they are currently accepting applications for potential homeowners for.

The lots that these homes are built on are carefully chosen by the lot selection committee. In most cases, the lots are purchased fairly cheap, but in some instances the lots have been donated by people who may have been trying to sell a lot for a few years. Recently there have been properties that were foreclosed on, that were in turn donated to JHH.

The process of becoming a potential homeowner can take time. Like many situations, there are factors that play into it. It starts with a very short pre-application screening. There are also income qualifications. Families that fall outside of the qualifications may still be eligible, so don’t let the income bracket scare you off. Habitat offers a hand up, not a hand out. Families are expected to work along side other volunteers in planning and building. Potential homeowners become partners with Habitat and are then paired with individuals who will assist you along the way. There will always be help throughout the process and even after the process, somebody is there to help. The help is out there, you just have to ask!

As with any kind of loan, there are qualifications that need to be met. Some of those qualifications include 1) have a problem with their current housing such as overcrowding, housing in bad condition, unsafe neighborhood, etc. 2) be willing to work on their own home as well as on other Habitat projects. 3) have the ability to repay Habitat for the cost of their home by means of monthly mortgage payments. To see the full list, check out their website www.jubileehabitat.org

Representing the JHH is a great group of board members. Mike Halsne-President of the Board; Kelly Dagan-Vice-President (family selection chair); Larry Armstrong-Secretary; Larry Speakman-co-chair of construction. The board is currently full, but they are always looking for new members just like they are always looking for potential homeowners. The next process to becoming a potential homeowner is contacting Kelly (217-371-4880) to help you get started!

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