April 16, 2014

Local family realizes home ownership dream with the first Habitat for Humanity home in Heard County

The dream of home ownership is now a step closer for one local family. Tosha, Joseph West and their children, Joseph Jr. 14, and Hunter 13, have been selected as the first Habitat for Humanity partner family in Heard County.

To qualify for the Habitat for Humanity home the West family went through a comprehensive interview, home visits, assessment process, and were required to meet certain income guidelines.

A record number of eleven families completed the application process for the inaugural home on Lipham Road just off Highway 219.

Emmett Jackson would like to thank the Heard County Fire Stations on behalf of the Habitat for Humanity’s Board of Directors for their assistance in providing applications throughout the community.

“I am both nervous and excited, I can’t believe this is real, Habitat for Humanity in Heard County has done more for our family than give us an opportunity for home ownership”, said an emotional Tosha West.

“This process is life changing as the families reap benefits far beyond having a decent, safe place to live and an affordable zero- interest mortgage. In fact there are studies that show kids do better in school, family health improves and the adult family members will often get retraining so they can get better jobs,” commented Habitat for Humanity Community and Family Liaison Jennifer Shaw.

The West Family – Joseph West Jr., Joseph West, Tosha West and Hunter West at the site of the inaugural Habitat for Humanity home in Heard County on Lipham Road just off Highway 219

The West Family – Joseph West Jr., Joseph West, Tosha West and Hunter West at the site of the inaugural Habitat for Humanity home in Heard County on Lipham Road just off Highway 219

“As a non-profit Christian Housing Ministry, we are proud to work with the local community to provide simple, decent, energy-efficient, affordable shelter for low-income families and create sustainable changes to our neighborhoods,” said Carol Evans President of the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate.

Executive Director Steven W. Brown continued to say  “Since 1991, the combined Habitat for Humanity affiliate and donors have generously provided local resources to build 71 homes and refurbish 24 homes for families, neighbors and friends in four adjoining counties including Troup, Chambers, Randolph and Harris. Now that we have announced our first build in Heard County we would love to challenge the community and raise enough funds to build a second home as well.”

Through volunteer labor, efficient management and donations of money and materials, Habitat energy-efficient homes are built or refurbished and sold to partner families at no profit. They are financed with affordable, no interest 20 year mortgages which are geared to the families’ financial circumstances.
Habitat for Humanity offers a “hand up not a hand out.” It is not a give-away program.

In addition to mortgage payments, each homeowner contributes 300 hours of unpaid labor into the building of their home and other homes. This is called “Sweat Equity”. Sweat equity increase pride of ownership and reduces Habitat’s costs.

“It takes 2000 volunteer hours and $50,000 to complete a new home so we are seeking new partnerships with the local community, corporate donors, businesses, churches, individuals and volunteers as we break ground on our first Heard County Habitat for Humanity home,” said local Habitat for Humanity Board Member Emmett Jackson.

For more information on this project or to sign-up to participate on a volunteer crew, visit Heard County Habitat for Humanity on Facebook, email jennifertcchabitat@gmail.com or call 706-837-0702.

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