Habitat for Humanity to offer essential home repairs to qualified, very-low-income homeowners
Penn-York Valley Habitat for Humanity, Inc., will undertake a new program this year called "A Brush With Kindness" (ABWK), introduced recently by Habitat for Humanity International. It will provide essential exterior repairs and improvements urgently needed to existing homes of very-low-income homeowners.
The program will focus on seniors, people with disabilities, and others who are financially unable to make essential repairs to their homes. Candidates will need to have a deed to their property and some financial means to make easy repayments for the cost of materials. No landlords will be considered.
Work will be done by volunteers using donated funds for the purchase of materials. The job cost will first be estimated. Based on this estimate, the homeowner will pay one percent down plus any additional money he or she has and wishes to apply. The homeowner will repay the cost of materials, less the initial payment, with easy payments over time at zero interest using the Habitat model, including the sweat equity requirement. Repaid money will fund future projects. The sweat equity requirement will consider homeowner's age and physical limitations. Friends and family may contribute unlimited hours.
ABWK will not replace Habitat's usual program of new home and rehab construction, but will provide a means of serving more people with fewer funds in these difficult economic times. When sufficient funds are available, new and/or rehab construction will be resumed. If ABWK is successful, it may be expanded to include interior work.
Types of work that are planned include minor roof repairs (no roof replacement), weatherization, porch and step repairs, handicap accessibility work, window repairs, siding repairs, painting, yard cleanup and minor landscaping work.
To qualify, homeowners must: own a home in serious disrepair; live in the home to be repaired (no landlords); be financially unable to hire someone to make the essential repairs; have a valid deed to the home; live within Penn-York Valley Habitat's service area (the school districts of Athens, Sayre and Waverly); have annual income below the allowed maximum (for example, $18,292 for a family of two, or $26,900 for a family of four), yet sufficient to repay actual costs on easy payments over time at zero interest.
ABWK will not take work away from local contractors because this is work that would never be done if the homeowner had to pay for the cost of labor, contractor's profits on materials, and the costs of financing. In fact, local contractors are encouraged to join others in volunteering their time on this program and lending their expertise.
The application period for the first round is June 1 to June 30. Application forms are available for pickup at East Smithfield Hardware, Sayre Senior Center, Valley P&C Market (two locations), Tom's Hardware and Feed, and Jolly Farmer Convenience Store. Completed forms should be mailed to the address on the form and postmarked by the closing date. Telephone questions may be directed to (570) 888-8809. Applications will be carefully screened against an appropriate set of criteria. Successful applicant(s) will be announced for each round.
Persons wishing to support the ABWK program may send donations to Penn-York Valley Habitat for Humanity, Inc., P.O. Box 63, Sayre, PA 18840. Contributions may be tax-deductible and are always welcome. Penn-York Valley Habitat for Humanity Inc. is an ecumenical, Pennsylvania non-profit corporation, also with the authority to do business in New York State, and is a member agency of the Bradford County United Way and Waverly Community Chest.
This article was submitted by Penn-York Valley Habitat for Humanity Inc.