By Gregg Bragg, The Island Connection Sr. Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of Habitat for Humanity
Melissa Kinloch has two kids, works one fulltime job, one part-time job and spends most of what she earns renting a place to live. A friend suggested she apply for a home through Habitat for Humanity, so she did. Kinloch will be 2019’s recipient of the home constructed by the Women Build contingent of Habitat, following a rigorous qualification process.
Habitat uses the same loan requirements as a traditional lender, but places additional requirements on the bargain for one of its homes.
For example, applicants have to;
- Verify employment
- Be drug free
- Have an acceptable credit history
- Have a credit rating above 600
- Verify the number of people living in the house
- An active savings account
- Pass a financial literacy class [budgets]
- Take a homeowner’s “maintenance” course [air filters etc.]
- Contribute 300 hours of “sweat equity” either for their own home, or other Habitat projects.
Approved candidates are then loaned $100,000 for 30 years on the house (appraised for a value ranging from $140,000 – $160,000) interest free. Before you ask, NO, they can’t simply “flip” the house. The difference in the loan amount and appraised value is essentially held as a second mortgage on the property, which homeowners must also satisfy if they sell early. Some proration is possible, of course, but if the 30-year term is met, the homeowner is entitled to the property’s full value.
Construction of this year’s home will take place during the second week of April, and volunteers are what make the whole thing tick.
Volunteers can work half day(s), full day(s), or do combinations depending on availability. Half-day shifts are from 8:30 a.m.–noon, or 1–4 p.m. Full day shifts are 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m., with an hour for lunch. Volunteers can work with a group of friends or sign up for just about anything that week, and be well received. Volunteering costs $35, which includes a t-shirt, snacks, and a lunch.
“As we have in past years, we are hoping to recruit a total of 22 Kiawah women (20 “construction” jobs and 2 hospitality positions). If you choose hospitality, you’ll help check in the volunteers, distribute snacks and lunch, and provide encouragement for those working on the house).
While we don’t know exactly what construction work we’ll be doing each day, we know it will be a memorable experience. Those of you who have volunteered in the past know you will personally gain far more than you give that day,” read an email from Kiawah resident Diane Lehder.
Sign up to volunteer by visiting TridentHabitat. com/pages/sihh-women-build-2019 and clicking on the “Register” button at the top or bottom of the page. Supporters can also help sponsor the event if construction work isn’t favorable. Funds are always needed, but participation is encouraged.
Kiawah residents Diane Lehder and Wendy Kulick have been doing this for a while and have offered to act as contacts. For more information on selecting a team, they can set you on the right path. Email Diane Lehder email@example.com and/or Wendy Kulick at firstname.lastname@example.org.