Habitat In Need Of Volunteers

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Payson Area Habitat for Humanity built 13 homes since July 1995 that house 61 parents and children.

As PAHH gears up to have a positive impact on the future of affordable housing in the Rim Country, the organization could use an infusion of committee members.

"Habitat's biggest committee need is in church relations," said Charles Proudfoot, PAHH president and pastor of the Community Presbyterian Church. "Church relations are where potential Habitat homeowners come from, because members know the families that have a need, but might not step forward on their own."

Church relation committee members are also responsible for the spiritual care and growth of Habitat families.

"The faith community has much to do with a homeowner's success," he said.

Although, Habitat is a Christian organization, there is no religious affiliation necessary for Habitat consideration.

"We could also use a volunteer fund-raising coordinator," Proudfoot said. "If you know someone who did that as a career, God is calling them."

Spaghetti dinners, silent auctions dances and various walks, and races would be under this particular volunteer's purview.

Five or six people are needed to be on the family selection committee and other folks are needed to mentor families, as they learn to financially manage their first home and mortgage.

Habitat is not in the business of giving homes away.

Adults who apply are carefully screened to ensure they have jobs, are creditworthy and can put the required 300 to 500 hours of sweat equity into their home or someone else's home.

The big three criteria are: Applicants must be living in sub-standard housing, must be able to pay a mortgage and must be willing to partner with PAHH for the 20- to 30-year life of the mortgage.

The first mortgage is for the actual construction costs of the home and the land it sits on. As an example, that might be $50,000. Yet the house appraises at $160,000. The $110,000 difference becomes a silent second mortgage that remains for the entire life of the mortgage and only goes away when the homeowner pays off the mortgage.

After the third year in a home, the owner is eligible for a portion of the equity and at the 15-year mark they would split the equity with Habitat, if they sold the home.

"Eleven of 13 owners are still in their original PAHH home," Proudfoot said.

PAHH acts as the bank.

"If it works perfectly, a Habitat affiliate can have enough money coming in to keep building houses," he said.

"We get about 20 applications for each house and maybe one-third of those are qualified," Proudfoot said.

With a goal of completing four houses each year, plus 14 townhomes for occupancy by people surviving on less than the median income for Gila County, PAHH wants to hire a paid Executive Director.

We are excited about our partnership with the Arizona Department of Housing. ADOH has made a $35,000 contribution to homes in the Longhorn Village project, as a mortgage that will be forgiven in 10 years.

There are three other ways an individual or business can be directly involved in PAHH homes.

  • Adopt a home
  • Adopt a room (bathrooms are $1,000, while kitchens are $2,500)
  • Adopt an item (two ceiling fans are $50, kitchen cabinets are $2,000)

Renovation of existing homes is also in Habitat's scope of activities, but it is not happening, yet.

To volunteer for PAHH, call (928) 474-0330.

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