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Wed, May 27

Williams Habitat seeks applicants for next home building project

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Always dreamed of buying a home, but it's always just out of reach? Williams Area Habitat for Humanity is in the process of selecting their next family for a home building opportunity.

Families interested in applying for a Habitat for Humanity house can attend one of the Family Selection Orientation meetings on March 2 at 6 p.m. and March 6 at 1 p.m. at the Williams Senior Center, 850 W. Grant Ave.

Applications will only be available at this meeting so Habitat members can answer questions and help with the application process.

"We found out in the past we would give out a lot of applications and no one will show up for the meetings," said Bud Parenteau, treasurer of the Williams Area Habitat for Humanity. "They have a thousand questions they need answered so this way we can answer all the questions at once."

Parenteau stressed that Habitat for Humanity does not give out free homes. Rather, the organization provides affordable homes with low-interest mortgages for low-income families.

"It's not a hand out, it's a hand up," Parenteau said.

To qualify for a Habitat house, applicants must not be able to qualify for a loan from a bank. However, applicants must earn less than 60 percent of the median income in Williams. Households earning between 30 percent and 60 percent will be the primary focus group for this program.

For example, in 2014, the median household income of Williams residents was $41,763. To qualify for the Habitat program a household's income would need to be $25,058 or less.

"Our first two homes are success stories," Parenteau said. "The woman who is in our first home has already paid half of her mortgage off and she has gone back to college."

A selection committee considers the applicants' housing need, ability to pay and willingness to partner with Williams Area Habitat for Humanity. Selected families must put in sweat equity on the home.

"We want them to be a part of the whole process," Parenteau said. "We don't want them to think we just hand them the keys."

The selection committee reviews the applications with the names of the applicants removed. They consider the number of family members and the family's income and bills. With this in mind, Parenteau said the committee chooses the best family, meaning "the family that fits the needs of the property and is willing to be part of the process."

"People say, 'Wow you're going through a lot to get someone in a house,' but we want to make sure we find the right folks," Parenteau said.

The committee hopes to select a family and get building as soon as possible.

More information about the meeting is available from Francis Mazza at (701) 361-2324.

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