Five days. Three houses scheduled for construction. And, if Fort Wayne Habitat for Humanity has its way, more families provided the opportunity to experience homeownership through a combination of charity and sweat equity.
Starting Monday, three local homebuilding companies – Bremer Homes, Byall Homes and Lancia Homes – will each build one home over the span of a work week in the 3700 block of Congress Avenue. The effort, part of a nationwide initiative called Home Builders Blitz 2012, brings the number of homes the local Habitat for Humanity has helped bring about this year to 12, including one rehab property, according to Megan Hubartt, the Communications and Faith Relations Coordinator for the nonprofit.
While the Home Builders Blitz is a new twist locally, Habitat for Humanity's core principles are still in play: Builders attempt to procure donations of building products and labor with the goal of building the homes at little or no cost to the nonprofit, in an attempt to keep the homes as affordable as possible -- Hubartt described the layouts of the homes as simple and functional -- while the prospective homeowners still must complete "sweat-equity" hours before moving in.
An added benefit of the nonprofit's work is the renewal of a block in the city's urban core. Two of the prospective homeowners are 2008 transplants from Myanmar (formerly Burma), which means that further integration into the culture and fabric of their new country is able to take place.
“(Prior to homeownership) the families have relationships, and that matters because that is comfortable for them,” Hubartt said. “You have a mix of people who are trying to adjust. When they are able to move into homes, in neighborhoods and communities, I think it's a positive.”
While the homebuilders headline the work, numerous subcontractors donated materials and supplies in order to make the builds possible. Hubartt credited Habitat's Volunteer Coordinator, Kory Stucky, with playing a leading role in keeping the nonprofit on top of what shapes up as a very busy week.
“There's definitely a lot of coordination that goes on, where we make sure they're getting what they need from us,” Hubartt said.
The completed homes are sold for a $500 down payment and come with an interest-free mortgage. The cost of a standard three-bedroom home is usually around $60,000, according to information provided by the nonprofit, with monthly mortgage payments ranging from $375 to $400.