By McKenzie Williams
Habitat for Humanity is now accepting applications for a new home. The build will begin during the upcoming summer of 2019. All applications are due by Oct. 1 and are available for pickup at the Office of Public Assistance in Libby, the County Libraries, Food Pantries and at the Senior Centers in Libby and Troy.
A family will be chosen during the winter.
Habitat for Humanity is an international, non-governmental, nonprofit organization founded in 1976. It is the largest nonprofit homebuilder in the world, devoted to building “simple, decent, affordable” housing.
In 1992 a group of interested people in Libby came to together to discuss creating a Habitat for Humanity affiliate.
“It turned out that there was a lot of work to be done before construction could ever begin. Committees were formed to work through the policies suggested by the organization, and Kootenai Valley Partners had to come up with policies for family selection, fundraising and construction. Susie Rice told The Montanian via email that the first local building was constructed in 1996, and now is completely paid off.
To date, 12 homes have been built in Libby and Troy combined. Our local Habitat affiliate is very small and made up of all volunteers so they are only able to build houses every other year, but they don’t take any time off. When they are not building houses for local families in need, they are working for low income homeowners through a program called “Brush with Kindness.” As part of this program Habitat volunteers work to fix up low income homeowners’ homes.
To be eligible for a Habitat home, families must need decent housing, be able to pay the no-interest mortgage and be willing to put “sweat-equity” into the project, which includes labor as well as attending training on financial literacy, buying a home and being a home owner.
Rice said, “We are looking for applicants who do have an income since there is a mortgage on the house. It is often said that we provide a hand up, not a hand out!”
Unlike a bank loan, the mortgage on a Habitat home is interest free, and their target population includes those who would not qualify for a traditional bank loan.
The local Habitat board includes 12 members, but they are always looking for people who would be interested in helping with construction or fundraising. Close to 300 community volunteers help make Habitat a success.
For more information, call Robert Reeves (291-9178) or Stephanie Dill (406-270-1984) in Libby, or Elaine Hammer (295-4712) or Chris Reichert (291-8324) in Troy.