A wall? A roof? A foundation? What will you build? Every year, volunteers, donors and partner families are building homes, hope and so much more in Centre County.
Since our founding in 1983, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Centre County has directly served 62 families through its first-time homebuyer program, another four through A Brush with Kindness and nearly 100 more through CHORE.
Centre County and the surrounding region is experiencing a lack of affordable options all along the housing continuum. Shelters, short-term transitional options, subsidized rental programs and lower cost purchase opportunities continue to see cutbacks while facing a growing demand. Habitat for Humanity provides an opportunity for affordable homeownership to families who cannot access traditional mortgage options.
Through the first-time homebuyer program, families begin to establish roots and start to build equity. Our partner families also benefit from:
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• No interest mortgages — saving an average of $90,000 over the life of the loan
• Low monthly payments — new homeowners pay less than $600 per month
• Low good faith deposit — partner families pay only $500 for their down payment
And the benefits don’t end there. Homeownership builds successful children. Children of families who own their homes are more likely to graduate from high school and college. And homeownership builds stronger communities. Homeowners are more likely to repair or improve their homes and to maintain a garden outside their homes.
A Brush with Kindness is a preservation program that offers painting, landscaping and minor repair services to eligible homeowners so they can continue to live in safe, decent homes for years to come. CHORE, an HFHGCC-affiliated volunteer group, serves the community primarily by building ramps and performing other small jobs for low-income families.
Since 2007, HFHGCC has operated ReStore to further serve the surrounding region. Modeled after the thrift store concept, ReStore accepts donations of new and gently used home accessories, building materials, cabinetry, appliances, furniture and more, and then sells the items to the general public at a fraction of the retail price. Be sure to watch for our monthlong sale in October. ReStore proceeds are used to directly support Habitat for Humanity’s mission in Centre County.
While one family fully satisfied its mortgage in late 2014, two newly approved families moved into their homes. And HFHGCC is now accepting applications for additional properties. Soon, two more hardworking families will have the opportunity to achieve their dreams of homeownership.
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Centre County has quietly been rebuilding its own foundation for a solid future. New staff and board members have been diligently working with partner families, both new and long term. The organization is working to ensure its long-term success by streamlining the application process, implementing prepurchase budgeting workshop requirements and following new mortgage origination and servicing regulations. This, in turn, will help provide for the long-term success of our homebuyers.
Let’s keep working together to build a better Centre County, one home and one family at a time.