I-Team Investigation: Challenge to find people to put into home - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

I-Team Investigation: Challenge to find people to put into homes

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TOLEDO, Ohio - If you could get into a brand new home and pay no interest on the loan, how could you say no?  The 13abc I-Team has found that lots of people, who could get this deal, are ignoring it.  Now we’re getting some answers as to ‘Why’.   

The goal for so many is to have a brand new home for their family.  For families here and across the country that happens thanks to Habitat for Humanity.  Despite all the donations to make Habitat work, the organization can't find enough local people to help.

"It has changed my life drastically," said Lindsay Welker, who is a new home recipient thanks to Habitat for Humanity.  “No more worries, took a lot of stress off me," said Welker. 

The foundation is in place, work is underway, and soon Welker's family will have a stable place to call home.

“Without Habitat I don't know where I would have lived with my children," said Welker.    

The Welker's are on stable footing now thanks to Habitat and more people can get help like this.  The struggle is to find the qualified applicants.

“We do have capacity for more qualified applicants to our home ownership program," said Mike McIntyre, with Habitat for Humanity.

The I-Team asked McIntyre the reason why more people are not applying to work with Habitat.

“That's hard to say.  We feel like we get the word out.  I think people understand we're not giving homes away," said McIntyre. 

It turns out that misconception could be a major problem.

“We're not giving homes away.  Perhaps some people hear that when they call here for the first time and say 'well that program is not for me, I thought they were giving homes away,’" said McIntyre.  “No we're not giving homes away.  I suppose that's one of the biggest misnomers about Habitat for Humanity,” said McIntyre. 

Habitat offers families a home mortgage with no interest which is something no typical bank will offer you. There are some requirements: applicants need to have less than $5000 in debt (like credit cards).  Applicants have to show need, be willing to put in sweat equity by working on Habitat projects and have the ability to pay the loan back.

“It's stringent, it's a recipe that works but it just means we have to talk to a lot of people; a lot of different groups and organizations and unions and churches and tell them about our program because we need to find the right fit for families," said McIntyre. 

 Maumee Valley Habitat plans to work on between 5-7 new home opportunities in 2014 but if more qualified applicants come forward the area could see this:

“Our capacity could certainly, I think, double," said McIntyre.

“If you think you might qualify, you might as well apply cause you never know if you're going to be the candidate or not.  I didn't think I would be and I got approved.  Very grateful," said Welker. 

“I think what bothers me is when I look at, and I've been here for 4 years, and I've seen dozens of families receive the Habitat touch and feel and the pathway to home ownership and I see how that's changed their lives.  The stability that's provided to them, to their children, to anybody else living in that house that they know there are going to return there every night.  That stable environment is a wonderful thing.  So it bothers me that we don't do more of it.  Yeah it does," added McIntyre. 

Habitat for Humanity is working more these days with rehabbing homes.  As the housing stock has changed, so has the organization.  Instead of always working on a new build,  they're doing more and more new roofs, hot water heaters.

All of that is to get toward the goal of home ownership.

To get connected to Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity: 

(419) 382-1964

Or visit:  mvhabitat.org/

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