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Habit for Humanity searches for families for Norwood home

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NORFOLK — Raquette Valley Habitat for Humanity will hold a meeting at 6:30 p.m. today at the Norfolk Methodist Church for anyone interested in a home that will be built this year in Norwood.

Construction will begin in the spring on Cottage Street.

Cindy Atkins, past president and current chapter treasurer, said there are certain guidelines for families interesting in owning the home.

She said Raquette Valley Habitat will look at three areas when selecting potential “partners” for the project. They include the family’s actual housing need based on the suitability of its shelter, its current income and ability to pay for a Habitat house and its willingness to participate as a “partner” family with Habitat.

A family selection committee will determine the partner family who will purchase the home from Raquette Valley Habitat for Humanity. Families unable to meet the banks’ income and credit history requirements will often qualify for a Habitat house, Ms. Atkins said.

It can take anywhere from 10 to 15 months for a family to actually move into the house once it qualifies for the home, she said.

Selected families are required to complete a homeowner’s course before the house is completed and, after moving in, they’re expected to make the monthly mortgage and escrow payments on time. In addition, they must maintain the house and yard and are responsible for the property and monthly utility bills, plus any repairs.

House payments vary depending on the home, but they won’t exceed 30 percent of the family’s income. The houses are sold with mortgages that generally run from 20 to 30 years.

Habitat officials say, for instance, a house built for $68,000, the typical cost, would have a monthly payment of about $505. That includes the principal on the loan and escrow account for taxes and insurance. The escrow payment will vary from year to year based on taxes and insurance costs.

Monthly payments are used by Habitat for Humanity to build other Habitat homes, which are constructed in partnership with qualifying families using mostly donated materials and labor. Habitat then sells the houses at no profit, making them affordable for many low-income families.

For more information, call 244-1335 and leave a message.

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