Applications being taken for newest habitat house

ROUSES POINT - If you're interested in owning your own home but aren't sure if you can afford it, then Champlain Valley Habitat for Humanity International might be able to help.

The local chapter of Habitat for Humanity International - the nonprofit organization which helps build affordable housing for those in need - is accepting applications for its next home to be built in the village of Rouses Point.

Harriet D. Burrell, the organization's immediate past president, said a partnership with CVHFH can help families currently living in substandard housing build simple, decent homes in which to live.

"This is our first opportunity to build in the northern part of the county and we are excited to be filling the needs of people there," said Burrell.

Habitat for Humanity makes the home affordable by providing all donated materials and labor to build it and an interest-free mortgage to the new homeowners once they take ownership, Burrell said. The family that will live there must contribute towards the labor, which further drives down the cost, she added.

"The cost of the house is a fraction of its appraised value," Burrell said. "This is not a hand out but a 'hand up.'"

"It's a great opportunity for someone who is ambitious and hard working, but just needs that extra hand up to succeed," said the Rev. David A. Spaulding, chairman of the CVHFH family selection committee.

The application process, said Spaulding, is very straight-forward. The committee sends out an application that looks much like a standard loan application. When completed, the committee evaluates it to see if the family meets basic criteria.

"We generally interview the applicants, check references, and visit them in the current homes," he said.

House payments for the new owners are anticipated to be in the range of $450-500 per month, said Spaulding. The low monthly payment is thanks to construction costs being defrayed by a grant from Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.

CVHFH is currently in the process of closing on the property where the Habitat home will be built. Once that process is complete, the organization will be able to officially disclose its location. Construction is expected to begin this spring.

The deadline for applications, which was originally Jan. 31, has been extended, said Spaulding. Applications may now be submitted until Sunday, Feb. 15.

For more information, including income guidelines and other basic criteria that must be met by a Habitat family, contact Spaulding at 846-7349 or chazypres@westelcom.com, or visit the Champlain Valley Habitat for Humanity Web site at www.cvhfh.com.

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