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Habit for Humanity looking for partner families

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NORFOLK - A meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Norfolk Methodist Church for anyone who is interested in partnering with Raquette Valley Habitat for Humanity on a new home that will be built this year in Norwood.

The home will be located on Cottage Street, Norwood, and the build will begin in the spring.

Cindy Atkins, past president and current RVHfH treasurer, said there are certain guidelines for families who want to partner with the organization on the home.

She said Raquette Valley Habitat will look at three areas when selecting potential “partners” for the project. They include the family’s actual housing need based on the suitability of their current shelter, their current income and ability to pay for a Habitat house, and their willingness to participate as a “partner” family with Habitat.

A family selection committee will determine the partner family who will purchase the home from Raquette Valley Habitat for Humanity. Families who are unable to meet the income and credit history requirements of banks will often qualify for a Habitat house, Ms. Atkins said.

It can take anywhere from 10 to 15 months for a family to actually move into the house once they’re qualified for the home, she said.

Families that are selected are required to successfully complete a homeowner’s course before the house is completed and, after moving in, they’re expected to make the monthly mortgage and escrow payments on time. In addition, they must maintain the house and yard and are totally responsible for the property and monthly utility bills, plus any repairs.

House payments vary depending on the home, but they won’t exceed 30 percent of the family’s income. The houses are sold with mortgages that generally run from 20 to 30 years.

Habitat officials say, for instance, that a house built for $68,000 - their typical cost - would have a monthly payment of about $505. That includes the principal on the loan and escrow account for taxes and insurance. The escrow payment will vary from year to year based on taxes and insurance costs.

Monthly payments are used by Habitat for Humanity to build other Habitat homes, which are constructed in partnership with qualifying families using mostly donated materials and labor. Habitat then sells the houses at no profit, making them affordable for many low-income families.

For more information, attend this evening’s meeting in Norfolk or call 244-1335 and leave a message.

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