Habitat For Humanity Building Momentum

PAHH accepting applications for homeowners


Payson Area Habitat for Humanity will build its sixth house this spring, a home for Adam and Thea Jacquez and their four children on the corner of St. Philips and Frontier.

When that home is complete, Habitat will have helped 10 adults and 16 children in the community achieve the American dream of homeownership.

Since the group formed in 1995, it has helped build five houses in just five years, but the group is not resting on its laurels. It built two houses in the past year and purchased two lots on contract.

Joe Gasiel, a member of the group's family selection committee, said Habitat is now selecting families for its seventh and eighth houses.

The selection process is a lengthy one, taking up to five months, he said.

Applicants must be willing to contribute sweat equity -- or 300 hours of labor for a single-parent family, or 500 hours of labor for a two-parent family -- to the project. Families can help with the construction of the house, Habitat office operations or the group's fund-raisers. Children also can contribute sweat equity to the project by doing tasks such as washing windows or picking up trash.

The houses are built at cost and selected families must be willing to assume a no-interest loan with monthly payments that are no more than 30 percent of their incomes.

"We look at three criteria -- greatest need, ability to pay and ability to put in sweat equity hours, " Gasiel said.

He said family members and friends can assist in providing the sweat equity. The family that is selected must have lived in the Payson area for at least a year and those who have applied before can re-apply.

They also need to have a good credit rating.

"We can't give them a house if there's going to be a lien against it," Gasiel said. "If they have any problems, which most of them do, we'll try to clear it up.

"Possible candidates for a home have to grant a home visit by the selection committee. We look at housing first to determine their need. There are a lot of forms to fill out, work references, etcetera."

The family selected also will be required to pay closing costs of $1,000 at the time they get the house.

"It has to be their own money, not borrowed."

Local businesses contribute materials and labor," Gasiel said. "The businesses and people of Payson have been very generous with their labor and material. We could never do what we do without their support."

The group relies on donations and various fund-raisers throughout the year to raise money for construction and other costs.

Habitat will host a spaghetti dinner March 9 at the Payson United Methodist Church at 414 N. Easy Street. Dinner will be served from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and there will be a silent auction. The cost per dinner for adults is $6 and for children 12 and under it will be $3. The cost for a family is $17. There is no charge for preschool children.

For an application or information, call Gasiel at 472-9688. Volunteers are always needed for office work, fund-raising, construction and other work. To volunteer or to make a tax-deductible donation, call the PAHH office at 474-0330.

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