GUYTON — Habitat for Humanity of Effingham County is ready to drop the hammer on projects that would help two families achieve home ownership.
Unfortunately, finding takers for the opportunities realize the core component of the American dream has been difficult.
“We’ve got the resources to build two houses at the same time but I can’t get families to qualify (for eligibility),” said Jimmy Rutland, Habitat’s executive director. “There’s always something wrong.”
Rutland’s attempts to find eligible applicants through a newsletter have been fruitless.
“We would like to get two approved right now,” he said.
Applicants must have lived or worked in Effingham County for at least one year and have the ability to pay a mortgage. Monthly income must be between 35-80 percent of the median income for Effingham County.
The maximum general income guidelines are as follows:
— family of one ($42,400)
— family of two ($48,400)
— family of three ($54,480)
— family of four ($60, 480)
— family of five ($65,360)
— family of six ($70, 160)
Applicants must have a full-time job at least one year (or six months in same line of work as a previous position) or part-time job for two years, have less than $1,000 in delinquent debt and, if they have a credit score, it must be above 640 (if no credit score, they will need to meet non-traditional credit guidelines). A fee will be charged each applicant to obtain a credit report.
“The biggest thing that messes people up is debt,” Rutland said. “You are still applying for a mortgage. We are required to follow standard mortgage rules.
“... What’s messing people up is a lot of them have a godawful car payment.”
Successful applicants will meet at least one of the following criteria:
— live in an inadequate shelter due to problems with heating, water supply, electricity, etc.
— live in overcrowded conditions
— spend more than 40 percent of income on housing (rent plus utilities)
— reside in Section 8 or public housing
— residence is not secured by an official lease agreement
The following obligations must also be met:
— be willing to complete at least 250 hours of “sweat equity” (volunteer hours)
— accept a home in neighborhoods where Habitat for Humanity of Effingham County is building
— must make monthly mortgage payments (per agreement)
— participate and complete homeownership preparatory training and educational workshops
— make a down payment of two percent of the purchase price of the home
Apply at https://www.habitatec.org/homeownership/.
The next Habitat houses are set to be built on lots between a pair of Habitat homes on Fourth Street Extension in Guyton. The newest one was dedicated Saturday.
“The basic floor plan and footprint will be the same,” Rutland said. “Each one will have a slightly different kind of facade.”
For more information, call 912-826-6433.