Cumberland Times-News

Local News

September 18, 2013

Habitat looking for next homeowner

Fundraiser planned for November ­homecoming celebration

CUMBERLAND — Habitat for Humanity is looking to get a family into a home.

All the applicant has to do is meet financial and other requirements, and put in 300 to 400 work hours, or “sweat equity,” to help build it. An affordable mortgage is another part of the deal.

While Habitat already has a property and plans to build, it’s still looking for a family interested in the home, which would be the second in Allegany County.

“That’s a concern because we have a property and need to know if they would need any kind of special accommodations in the building plan,” said Rae Ann Smith, a Habitat board member.

It’s not unusual for relatively new Habitat organizations to get the word out about opportunities for those interested in a Habitat home. Smith thinks there’s definitely a need in the area.

The new home will be adjacent to the first Habitat home on McMullen Highway near Cresaptown United Methodist Church. There’s a building on the property that will be torn down to make way for the new home. Habitat hopes to get the property ready over the winter and begin building the home in the spring, Smith said.

“We’ve been trying to be more aggressive in getting the word out,” Smith said. That includes word of mouth and putting out applications and fliers at various locations.

“People may be employed, but may not qualify for a traditional mortgage, yet fit our income guidelines,” Smith said.

Those guidelines start at a minimum income of $17,000 and a maximum income of $25,500 for a family of two. An individual might also qualify, according to published guidelines. Applicants must show a need for the housing.

“You may be considered for a Habitat home if your present housing is not adequate, and if you are unable to obtain adequate housing through other conventional means. “Inadequate housing” may include problems with structure, water, heat, electrical or sewage systems, or failure to meet property maintenance standards,” according to Habitat’s website.

Habitat’s mission is to provide safe and affordable housing, Smith said.

A pre-homecoming celebration with a tailgating theme is set for Nov. 1 from 6 to 11 p.m. at the Allegany County Fairgrounds multi-purpose building. The Chinese Bandits will be playing during the event. Other events will include a football throwing contest and the opportunity to buy Christmas gifts.

“We’re trying to make it attractive to a wide variety of people,” Smith said.

Tickets are available from board members and at The Book Center and Main Street Books in Frostburg.

The Allegany County chapter of Habitat for Humanity International formed in August 2009, and construction on the first home began in fall 2010. A Christian, nonprofit organization, Habitat provides “decent, affordable housing” for those in need.

More information, including an application, can be found at http://www.alleganycountyhfh.org/

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com.

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