Habitat homeowner Jocelyn, pictured above with her son and daughter, finished our housing program in two months and gathered friends and family to celebrate at her home dedication earlier this year.
Hardworking homeowners complete Habitat program months early
When a homeowner candidate is accepted into the Habitat for Humanity Homeownership Program, they’re told the process typically takes a year, but in 2019 several local families completed the program in three months or less.
Homeowner candidates must volunteer 300 “sweat equity” hours at the job site, construction warehouse, Habitat ReStore or in the administration offices. They’re also required to take 20 hours of budgeting and home maintenance classes.
“Usually it takes everybody about a year to complete,” said Jocelyn, a recent Habitat homeowner (pictured above). “One of the best things to do is gather all your friends and family to help. It’s hard work, but nothing is easy in this life.”
Jocelyn finished the program in two months. Like most homeowners in the program, she needed to balance her Habitat commitments with a full-time job at a local accounting firm and raising her children as a single mother.
What helped her through the process was the flexibility of her employer, she said, which allowed her to work nights, weekends or remotely from home. For 3-4 days per week from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the equivalent of a part-time job, Jocelyn helped build the home she’d eventually purchase.
She was also thankful for the homeowner classes offered by Habitat.
“You learn home maintenance, so it makes it easier to take care of your own home,” she said. “I learned to paint, lay tile, framing and how to change my hot water heater. Knowing how to do these little things helps you to save money in the long run.”
Habitat homeowners Orlando and Maritza also closed on their home this year. They took three months to complete their requirements but said they would’ve done it earlier if possible.
“We sacrificed time with our family since we worked on our ‘sweat equity’ hours every weekend for three months,” said Orlando. “My wife and I both work for a commercial cleaning company so we would work from 2-7 a.m. at our jobs and then do hours at the warehouse or construction site, so we also sacrificed sleep.”
The couple was eager to move into their new home. Before applying to the Habitat Homeownership Program, they lived in a 70-year-old trailer with no insulation. The summer temperatures were sweltering, explained Orlando, and the rainy season made the inside of the trailer very humid.
Orlando and Maritza felt a sense of accomplishment after moving into their new home. Their advice for future homeowner candidates is to “work hard and fast because you’re doing it for your own home. Try to work in your own home because that is the biggest satisfaction.”
Jocelyn also stressed the impact of working on your home. “When you do the construction, you value how hard it is to keep up with the house,” she said.