Habitat has a long ‘makeover’ history

Published 7:57 pm Wednesday, February 9, 2011

To the editor:

With all the excitement generated by the Extreme Makeover build in Virginia Beach, now is a good time to focus on the critical need for affordable housing in our Hampton Roads communities.

Extreme Makeover dramatically showcases a family’s need and the importance of a good home for quality of life. It can sensitize us as a community to the many families that will never make it to a reality show solution.

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But there are local programs such as Habitat for Humanity that work daily with hardworking families to make the dream of affordable homeownership a reality.

Unlike the Extreme Makeover, where a home is built and given to a deserving family, Habitat for Humanity builds and sells homes to qualified low-income families. In addition to a down payment, the pre-qualified families pay the monthly mortgage carried by Habitat at no interest for the next 20-30 years.

Moreover, instead of being sent on a vacation while their new home is being built, Habitat homeowners work side by side with volunteers to provide sweat equity as they help build their own home.

Habitat for Humanity’s homeowners also gain a safe and affordable living environment. Habitat homes are modest, averaging just 1,200 square feet for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home, and every new Habitat house is EarthCraft and Energy Star certified. There is no danger of overwhelming bills after the excitement has worn off.

With a no-interest, 20 to 30-year mortgage, house payments are approximately $500 – $650 per month. Our homes cost approximately $75,000 to build and homes are appraised at approximately $200,000 upon completion. This creates a significant asset for a family, a positive aesthetic impact on a neighborhood and adds to the tax base for municipalities.

We are constantly striving to increase the number of homes we build, since the number of families in need always exceeds the number of houses constructed. And our families totally own their homes upon completion of their mortgage terms.

Since our founding in 1985 and 1988, respectively, our Habitat affiliates have an amazing track record having built over built more than 120 homes on the Peninsula and 175 homes on the Southside.

Our work would not be possible without the generous contributions of our community partners. It takes both volunteer hours and financial support to continue building affordable homes in Hampton Roads.

We appreciate the help we get from all of the individuals, companies and organizations committed to our work, helping to keep the costs low and therefore the homes more affordable.

So if you want to continue the spirit of generosity and the energy that comes from working together to strengthen the community and help a deserving family, come to your neighborhood Habitat – on the Peninsula and Southside. Check out our websites and keep the dreams alive!

Paul Shelton

President, Board of Directors

Habitat for Humanity of

South Hampton Roads


Alexis N. Swann

President, Board of Directors

Habitat for Humanity Peninsula