Habitat for Humanity is looking for candidates for the next houses


GUYTON — Effingham County Habitat for Humanity is ready to throw the hammer on projects that would help two families access homeownership.

Unfortunately, finding takers for the opportunities to realize the essential component of the American Dream has been difficult.

“We have the resources to build two houses at the same time, but I can’t get families to qualify (for eligibility),” said Jimmy Rutland, executive director of Habitat. “There’s always something wrong.”

Rutland’s attempts to find eligible candidates through a newsletter were unsuccessful.

“We would like to get two approved right now,” he said.

Applicants must have lived or worked in Effingham County for at least one year and have the ability to pay a mortgage. Monthly income must be between 35-80% of Effingham County median income.

The maximum general income guidelines are as follows:

— family of one ($42,400)

— family of two ($48,400)

— family of three ($54,480)

— family of four ($60,480)

— family of five ($65,360)

— family of six ($70 160)

Applicants must have a full-time job for at least one year (or six months in the same field of work as a previous position) or a part-time job for two years, have less than $1,000 in outstanding debt and, if they have a credit score, it must be over 640 (if there is no credit score, they will need to meet non-traditional credit guidelines). A fee will be charged to each applicant to obtain a credit report.

“The biggest thing that frustrates people is debt,” Rutland said. “You are still applying for a mortgage. We are required to follow standard mortgage rules.

“…What bothers people is that a lot of them have horrible car payments.”

Successful candidates will meet at least one of the following criteria:

— live in inadequate housing due to problems with heating, water supply, electricity, etc.

— live in overcrowded conditions

— spend more than 40% of income on housing (rent plus utilities)

— reside in section 8 or in public housing

— the residence is not guaranteed by an official lease

The following obligations must also be complied with:

– be willing to complete at least 250 hours of “fair sweat” (volunteer hours)

– accept a home in neighborhoods where Habitat for Humanity Effingham County is building

— must make monthly mortgage payments (according to the agreement)

— participate in and complete pre-homeownership training and educational workshops

— pay a down payment of two per cent of the purchase price of the house

Apply at https://www.habitatec.org/homeownership/.

The next Habitat homes are expected to be built on lots between two Habitat homes on Fourth Street Extension in Guyton. The most recent was dedicated on Saturday.

“The basic floor plan and footprint will be the same,” Rutland said. “Each will have a slightly different type of facade.”

For more information, call 912-826-6433.


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