Habitat for Humanity helps build credit and wealth one home at a time

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BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) – A mission to help everyone have a decent place to call home may seem daunting, but Habitat for Humanity (HFH) has been consistent in its goal to create affordable housing in Queen City, since 1985.

“It takes about 5,000 to 6,000 volunteer hours to build each habitat house,” said Stephanie Lawson, director of development and communications for Habitat for Humanity.

The Buffalo chapter has built at least 325 homes since then.

“We help families with roofs and accessibility features, ramps, home preservation projects, so they can retain the value of their homes. We try to expand our programs to meet changing needs. of our community,” Lawson said.

Lawson told 7 News’ Pheben Kassahun that access to affordable housing in Western New York has been an issue for decades.

“We’ve been building in the city since before it was cool. Now we’re seeing a lot of people moving into the city of Buffalo, buying really affordable real estate, and then evaluating the residents who always have been,” he said. -she adds. .

To help prevent this, the organization competes to buy properties with outside investors, lenders, landlords and people moving house.

“We’re just as competitive. We buy those homes. We rehab or build something new from scratch, and then we sell those homes to families who go through our homeownership program. Our program allows us to “buying houses at an affordable price. So we subsidize the interest. We do most of the work with volunteers,” she said.

The family is then able to buy the house and pay off an affordable monthly mortgage. When researching home buyers, she said they’re usually looking for people who are working and trying to fit in with the middle class.

“They often work hard, sometimes hold multiple jobs, and they just can’t get ahead. Maybe they have bad credit, or maybe they’ve never gone through the process of buying a car. house before and so we are a very strong partner in this area,” explained Lawson.

Those who qualify to associate with HFH must contribute at least 400 hours of sweat equity, complete education courses, and pay off the mortgage.

“Families who buy our homes pay a monthly mortgage and that monthly mortgage helps fund future homes. So our program kind of rotates in that every home we build, we’re able to build another home.” , she added.

It’s not just about building a house; it’s basically about giving people access to credit and wealth.

To volunteer for HFH, click here.

To apply for a house, or to become a “partner family”, click here.

Volunteers do not need to know how to build. They will be taught on the day of each project.

In the Buffalo Strong section of wkbw.com, a list can be found with contact information for more than a dozen organizations in the city looking for volunteers to “get involved”.

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