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Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity
Al Means, Executive Director of Habitat For Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle http://www.hfhep.org was on site answering questions pertaining to the organization and criteria used to qualify for a HFHEP home. HFHEP began in 1992 with the first home being constructed in 1994. There are currently 1760 affiliates within the United States.
Anyone can apply for a habitat home, however, each application is considered based on its own merits. Criteria used to qualify: Low income - as determined by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). According to HUD, the 2009 median family income for Martinsburg was $61,300, http://search.hud.gov (Analysis of the Hagerstown-Maryland, Martinsburg-West Virginia PDF). Live in the HFHEP service are for one year. Service area is defined as Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson Counties. Good Credit - for those families who have less than favorable credit, HFHEP will instruct the families on how to improve their credit. Complete 500 hours of sweat equity. Each adult over 18 yrs. of age is required to work 100 hours. Friends and family can help by completing up to 300 of the 500 required hours. After completing 100 hours of sweat equity and showing their commitment to this project, HFHEP will then sit down with the family to design a house that will suit that familyâ€™s needs. Sweat equity projects can include working on their own project or any other HFHEP projects. An example given by Mr. Means was HFHEPâ€™s need to have doorhangers placed in the Charles Town / Harpers Ferry area. One way for HFHEP to raise money is from the sale of donated vehicles. HFHEP will then receive a portion of the money collected from automobile auctions. In addition to meeting the above criteria, the homeowner is required to take three classes: Budgeting, Homeowner Maintenance, and Smart Shopping/Good Nutrition. Once the homeowner has gone to settlement, it is their responsibility to make mortgage payments in a timely manner, maintain all appliances and equipment, and show pride of ownership in their new home. The goal of Habitat For Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle is to build ten new homes per year. Mr. Means said, "the most rewarding area of this job for me and the most emotional is turning the keys over to the new homeowner." For Delilah this special moment is scheduled for November 24, 2009.
Since Hurricane Katrina, donations in the area have dwindled, said Al Means, Habitat's new part-time director.Acquiring increasingly more costly property in the region has also become a significant problem, he said.To better deal with that, Habitat would like to set up a system where land sellers and buyers could set aside lots for Habitat for Humanity houses, Boykin said.It will also be taking on a different approach to how houses are built and volunteers are put to work, Means said.In short, the organization needs funding and volunteers, Means said.'It's time for us to step up to the plate,' Boykin said. 'There are many opportunities to get involved.'The non-profit organization has built two homes each year since 1995, Means said.'We want to build more than two.An attainable goal would be five,' Means said. 'If somebody calls us, we don't just tell them 'There's nothing we can do for you,'' Means said.The more functional goals are made with more idealistic ones in mind.Means is an Air Force veteran and has spent time since retirement as a salesman for a contracting company and as an employee of the Convention & Visitors Bureau, he said.
"This is groundbreaking," Al Means, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle, said, referring to the state-of-the-art green technology utilized in building the house.
Additionally, this is the first of three houses that Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle plans to build with funds from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development's Community Housing Development Organization program, Means said.
Al Means, Executive Director of Habitat For Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle http://www.hfhep.org was on site answering questions pertaining to the organization and criteria used to qualify for a HFHEP home.
An example given by Mr. Means was HFHEP's need to have doorhangers placed in the Charles Town / Harpers Ferry area. Mr. Means said, "the most rewarding area of this job for me and the most emotional is turning the keys over to the new homeowner.
The selection process to choose a lucky family is underway, but Al Means, executive director of Habitat, said he is always looking for families in need of housing in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties."We continually process applications all the time," he said.At the beginning of the year, Means said Habitat developed a strategic plan based on the number of houses it is able to build."Our mission is to make housing affordable, but we also don't give homes away," he said.Means said Habitat works with families who fall in the 50th percentile of the median family income and below.The median family income is $56,000 this year.That means, a four-person family bringing in less than $32,050 qualifies for a Habitat home.A three-person family that takes home less than $28,850 also qualifies.The cost of building a Habitat home is about $45,000, Means said.