ELLERBE — Two Richmond County families will receive a late Christmas present from Habitat for Humanity of the North Carolina Sandhills: a new home.
One of the houses is currently being built on Green Lake Road near Ellerbe. The other will begin construction in July, according to Ellen Harrison, family services leader for the Sandhills Habitat chapter. The location is yet to be determined.
The chapter put 11 regional families on track to get houses in December. The other nine were Moore County residents.
Habitat for Humanity allows families in need of a stable living situation to work their way towards a newly built, affordable home — always with a no-interest mortgage. Each applicant must put in 300 hours of either work on a build site for another applicant’s home or in the classroom to be eligible.
“Almost all of our (applicants) have never owned a house,” Harrison said. “Our families truly change during the 18 months to two years it takes to get a house.”
The classes cover basic home care and financial skills that can be foreign to first-time homeowners used to coordinating with a landlord for all maintenance and money issues. Each person must attend each class at least once. They receive two credit hours for each class attended.
To be eligible to apply, a person must earn between 30 and 60 percent of their county’s median income. Once applicants reach 60 hours on a build site, they are able to look at lots and choose their floor plan. They must have a minimum of 90 hours on a build site to close on a house, according to Harrison.
On Oct. 5, Habitat dedicated a home to Michelle Terry, a single mother with two children, 15 and five years old, who had been in living in a rental home that was poorly maintained and poorly heated.
Terry was suspended from the program for three months for not meeting the monthly credit hour requirement but worked her way back into the program.
By April of this year, Habitat for Humanity of the N.C. Sandhills has built 222 new homes and made repairs to 104 in Richmond and Moore counties since 1988. Only 14 of the homes built were in Richmond County.
“We could do a lot more building in Richmond County,” Executive Director Amie Fraley told the Daily Journal earlier this year. “We just need to build that volunteer base.”
She said Habitat is always looking for volunteers to help with projects, especially painting the interiors of the homes.
Several volunteer groups, including the Creek Runners Club and United Way of Richmond County, worked on a home earlier this year.
The organization has acquired nine lots in the Briarwood development in Hamlet and three lots for future projects in Dobbins Heights.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]