In the News
Oct 08 2011
JESSICA MCCARTHY (Panama City News Herald)
LYNN HAVEN — Bay County Habitat for Humanity commemorated World Habitat Day on Saturday with a work day and celebration at the 60th home in the Bay County Habitat program.
Michelle Hammons, future owner of the home on Michigan Avenue in Lynn Haven, said the process has been a long one, but well worth the effort.
“At the end of it, you have a house and you’re able to provide for your family better,” she said. “I’m stoked about it.”
She said her experience in Habitat has also reminded her that people do actually help other people and she likes seeing that.
Congressman Steve Southerland, R-Panama City, was on hand to help with the build and earned his lunch by driving nails.
“It’s an easy decision to get behind this cause,” he said. “You’re putting families together in a safe home.”
Cornel Brock, executive director of the Bay County Habitat, said making it to the 60th home was wonderful and that this build was about a year ahead of schedule, but that was not the only important thing.
“Capacity is important, but sustainability is more important. Building the 60th house is great, but keeping this program going into the future is the most important part.”
Brock said the process to qualify a future homeowner is not a fast, easy one; it takes about 18 to 24 months to complete. One of the criteria for qualification is sweat equity; future homeowners must complete 300 to 400 hours of work on other homes before they can receive one of their own.
Homeowners aren’t just handed the keys when the build is complete, either. Habitat sells the home to them, based on what they consider “hard costs,” such as land and supplies. The homeowner has a 20-year, interest free mortgage on the house they must pay back. That money goes back into the program to help fund other projects.