The Norman Transcript

Columns

December 23, 2012

Habitat helps families have a home for the holidays

NORMAN — At a small brightly-painted home east of downtown Norman, a single mother of four prepares for Christmas in their rehabbed home, made possible by Cleveland County’s Habitat for Humanity.

It’s one of 40 homes the local chapter has built or rehabilitated. This year, the local Habitat office will finish a home on Symmes Street, start a rehab on 1st Street in Moore and start two new builds with the OU College of Architecture.

Habitat is a partnership with the families. They work alongside to invest some sweat equity in the home.

n n n

Executive director Jennifer Houchins says there are many myths about Habitat homes. The local chapter also operates a popular Restore which sells donated building products to help finance the operation.

Homeowners have to qualify to start on the home ownership path. “In addition to a down payment and monthly mortgage payments, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor into building their Habitat house and the houses of others,” Houchins said.

Habitat houses are sold to partner families at no profit and financed with affordable loans. Some can’t qualify for traditional house financing. Most have incomes of 30 to 50 percent of the area’s median income.

n n n

In most cases, prospective Habitat homeowner families make a $500 down payment and perform 300 to 500 hours of "sweat equity" on the construction of their home or someone else's home.

Because Habitat houses are built using donations of land, material and labor, mortgage payments are kept affordable. Houchins said they have had few, if any, problems with Habitat homeowners making their payments.

She said studies show affordable housing has no adverse effect on neighborhood property values. In fact, Habitat houses have proven to increase property values and local government tax income.

For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Congress should close gaps

    Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Border obsession overlooks trade

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines recently by ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. This bravado comes at a price: $12 million a month. Perry plans to send the bill the federal government. That’s one way to finance your ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Intercession badly needed in this world

    Yesterday was my feast day, or as the Italians call it, my “onomastico.” Since I live in the United States, it went completely unnoticed. If I lived in Italy, however, I would have been showered with cards and phone calls. That’s because ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Porch leap looked muchbigger as a kid

    It’s no secret that porch designs have changed over the years. Drive through new Norman developments and look at the porches. Most only have room for a potted plant and a spot to drop those UPS packages, no place for a porch swing or ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Keeping the war buried

    International outrage over the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine on July 17 does not appear to have affected either the actions of pro-Russia forces in that country or the material support Russia is offering the rebels. ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Gaza’s victims: civilians and peace

    After more than two weeks of fighting between Hamas and Israel, there is no question which side has the upper hand. Thursday’s strike on a U.N.-run school for Palestinian children increased the Palestinian death toll to more than 760. By ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014