Living Columns & Blogs

Helping Hands: Homeownership can be within your reach

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Centre County works to provide affordable homeownership opportunities for qualified households.
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Centre County works to provide affordable homeownership opportunities for qualified households. Photo provided

Owning a home is different than renting. It’s something that is seen as a natural step in life: go to school, get a job, buy a house, start a family. But that path isn’t always so clear, nor is homeownership easily attainable for everyone. In fact, in several ways, homeownership is nearly out of reach for many in our region.

Habitat for Humanity of greater Centre County is working to change that by providing affordable homeownership opportunities for income-qualified households in Centre County.

Who qualifies? HFHGCC partner families represent all walks of life, but they have a few basic things in common.

▪ Each of HFHGCC’s partner families showed a need for better housing. Examples may have included living in an overcrowded home, paying a high percentage of monthly income toward rent or simply living in unsafe conditions.

▪ They have the ability to repay a mortgage. During the application process, families provide documentation of stable incomes that fall within HFHGCC guidelines. This helps to ensure that they are able to pay a monthly mortgage. HFHGCC applicants also demonstrate a decent credit history.

▪ They show that they are willing to partner with HFHGCC. Approved homeowner applicants must fulfill 350 “sweat equity” hours of volunteer work on our construction sites, working at our ReStore, and participating in required homeowner workshops.

▪ They live or work in Greater Centre County. With homes in Philipsburg, Millheim, Port Matilda, Milesburg, Bellefonte and State College, HFHGCC serves the entire county and wants those who live or work here to have an opportunity to be rooted in our community.

HFHGCC is accepting applications for our next partner families. Is Habitat right for you? Are you prepared to:

▪ Invest 350 hours of “sweat equity” into your Habitat home and other HFHGCC projects and programs?

▪ Save money toward a small down payment for your home?

▪ Commit to a 30-year legal obligation of a mortgage and to make your monthly payments in full and on time?

▪ Pay for all utilities, including electricity, water/sewer and refuse?

▪ Complete regular maintenance work on your home to prevent future problems?

▪ Maintain an emergency savings reserve for needed repair work?

If you answered “yes” to all of the above questions, you might be ready to accept the challenges and responsibilities that come with the advantages of homeownership.

The goal of homeownership is big, and the steps to achieve that goal involve commitment and hard work. But realizing the “American dream” of homeownership affords a great deal of pride. With the home purchase comes a sense of accomplishment and a sense of belonging to a specific community. HFHGCC helps to empower families who qualify to build and buy their own homes. If you are interested in pursuing homeownership through HFHGCC, contact us today at 353-239, ext 1, www.habitatgcc.org, or info@habitatgcc.org.

Jill Redman is the executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Centre County.

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