70th Home

Habitat for Humanity of Saline County Director Stephanie Griffin, right, hands new homeowner Regina Carter the keys to the 70th home built by Habitat in Saline County during a home dedication Tuesday. 

During its 20th year of serving the people of Saline County, Habitat for Humanity of Saline County has reached another milestone — its 70th new house build. 

Habitat Director Stephanie Griffin pointed out that because the organization also recycles homes that have come back to them, the number of families served is even higher. 

"When you put the numbers together its incredible," she said. 

She added that the milestone makes her reflect on the 69 other new homeowners who had a home built for them and those who live in the recycled homes. 

This home dedication, which was held Tuesday, is the third this year. Two more a planned to be held soon. 

"Habitat is a wonderful opportunity for qualified Saline County residents who are looking for an affordable housing option," Griffin said. 

Griffin explained that Habitat reviews each homeowner application the same way a bank does for its loans. They look into the applicant's income and expenses. If the applicants meet the criteria under the HUD guidelines, Habitat does a home visit to determine the need. Griffin said Habitat looks to see if the applicant is paying too much for rent, is their residence in a rundown condition, is it too small for the family and other factors. 

If the applicant fits Habitat's criteria, the application goes to the board of directors for approval. 

Once an applicant is approved they must save up a $500 down payment and put in 25 sweat equity hours volunteering with Habitat before work can begin on their home. 

Before Habitat closes on the loan, the applicant needs to have made a $1,000 down payment and worked 300 sweat equity hours plus an additional 150 hours for each additional adult in the home. 

The new homeowner will have a 0-percent interest 20- to 30-year mortgage they will pay off. The homeowner pays the cost of the home. There is no profit being made. 

"They simply get a great hand-up opportunity," Griffin said, adding getting them into an affordable home helps the homeowner's financial future.

The 70th home was built with the help of the Arkansas Development Finance Authority, which is helping with several affiliates across the state. 

Griffin said none of the affiliates receive any funding from Habitat International. They are each independent and responsible for raising funds for each house they build or recycle. 

"Habitat definitely appreciates the numerous sponsors over the years, both corporate and independent, who have helped build these 70 homes," Griffin said. 

She is always looking for more sponsors who want to help in any way they can and volunteers. 

The next Habitat build will be Apostles Build, held Sept. 7 and 9 through 13. She said it is open to anyone interested in volunteering. She encourages those who would like to help out to call the office or email stephanie@habitatsalinecountyar.org.

Habitat is taking applications for new homeowners. There is an applicant meeting planned soon. Anyone interested can call 501-315-5434.

Griffin said she is looking forward to the next 20 years and the next 70 homes. 

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