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Habitat for Humanity

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Ashley Hawk        

English 101

Keith Miller

5/1/15

Habitat for Humanity

        Habitat for humanity is a Christian housing ministry, known for building houses not only in the wake of disasters like everyone knows them for but for providing houses for families living in substandard housing. To apply for a Habitat for Humanity house one only must have a need for better housing and the ability to pay back in small increments the cost of the house Habitat builds, and a willingness to do volunteer hours on your home and others. You start by going to the office and filling out a pre-application, full of questions about your family and their need for housing. After they review your pre-application they call you in for an application meeting where you fill out all kinds of extensive paperwork, how many people are in your home, where you are working, why your current home is subpar, how willing you are to do the volunteer hours (before you are formally accepted you have to complete 15 hours of volunteer services), how much debt you have ect. When you are finished they send the application off to a selection committee, they run the numbers against the mortgage that’s interest free I might add, with your debt and income to see if you can afford to pay monthly. If the numbers are in their acceptable range they invite you back to fill out more extensive paperwork contracts, saying you are willing to pay back for all of the materials used in building your house, willing to work in the community as well as on your house ect.

        After you become a partner family (your application is accepted) you have to complete a few different classes. Homebuyer’s education class which is an incredible detailed class on what it takes to be a homebuyer from buying insurance, refinancing, education about predatory loans, closing costs, all the way to selling your home. It took us around 6 hours to complete. Another class needed before building starts on your home is Financial Peace University. Financial Piece University is a nine week course, two hours every Wednesday we learned about all the ways to pay off our debt, budget, save money, and be successful in life and in paying our mortgage. Paying off debt, a HUGE thing in being a home owner. In order to get a habitat house you have to pay off your debt even if it’s only $5 at a time. When I started this we were several thousands of dollars in debt. A year later and we owe less than $500 and we are continuing to pay that debt away.

        Last but not least, volunteer hours! Each able-bodied adult has to do 270 hours of community service, so my husband and I had to do 540 all-together (we actually ended up doing way over 540). 100 construction hours, forty at least on someone else’s home, and the rest on yours. The other 170 are volunteering in the office, cleaning and answering phones for all of the lovely habitat workers. Every week there is a volunteer dinner where families and volunteers who come from all over the United States meet up and share a meal and thank them for all of their hard work. Children in the family can help out by getting good grades, for every A-4 hours is earned, for every B-3, C-2, D’s and F’s they say “ get a hug.” Family and friends of the partner family can earn hours by them volunteering for them up to 70 hours a piece can be put towards the 270 hours. When building begins on your home you must do forty hours of community service monthly until your house is completed. We had our blitz build, a five day build where the outer part of your house siding and all is put together, in July of last year and we are still currently working on our house.
        Building our house has been extremely time consuming, but well worth it! We started with drywall, I didn’t know a single thing about drywall when we started this. I didn’t know how important it was to put drywall up a certain way, boy was I wrong. We had to put drywall up three times in some places because it was done wrong. After all of the drywall was put up we had to mud and tape the walls, three times, sanding after it dried each time to make the walls smooth and the seams unnoticeable. Priming and painting has been my favorite by far! It took like three days to prime and paint the whole house. This is the step we are on right now, so what comes next hasn’t been done but we still have doors, floors, and cabinets to install, after all that is done we will have to put appliances in, stove, refrigerator,  toilets. After that’s all straightened out we have a HUGE cleanup day that involves cleaning and then landscaping the property to make it look nice for the house blessing. The house blessing is a ceremony when they “officially” present you keys to your new house. Now you can’t move in until closing, where you sign the paperwork for your loan, but you are so close! Closing is normally a week after the house blessing so they can inspect the house, but after closing day the house is officially yours and you can move in!

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