— By BRIAN SMITH
People with less than perfect credit or other financial issues can still own a new home if they are willing to put some “sweat equity” into it.
Ilene Williams knows first hand about it as she explained the Trinity Habitat for Humanity concept to a group at the Weatherford Public Library recently. Trinity HfH works with people in Parker, as well as Tarrant, Wise and Jack counties.
An informational seminar on Habitat for Humanity is scheduled for this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Weatherford Public Library on Charles Street.
Williams was the recipient of a home in the 1500 block of Elm Street in Weatherford. She said it took 12 to 18 months from the time the application process was started until she was able to move in, but it was all worth it.
Many people think that physical ability is necessary in the 250 required hours of “sweat equity” required to gain ownership of the home, but that’s not the case.
“I helped out by working in the[Habitat for Humanity] office [in Fort Worth]. You can work on getting items mailed out. You can work at some of the fundraising events they have throughout the year,” Williams, a senior citizen, said. “I did help out by painting all the siding on my house but I didn’t have to install it. If you’re not a carpenter, they’re not going to ask you to climb a ladder. You will be able to help out in other ways.”
Some of the requirements for taking part in the program include:
• Not having owned a home in the last three years.
• The inability to own a home because of being low income or an unstable credit history.
• Problems with present living conditions (housing has structural, electrical problems, no heat, or using more than 30 percent of your income for housing).
Williams said she had owned a home prior to her current residence, but takes so much pride in this one because she had a big hand in it before taking possession. She said all the Habitat homes are safe and comfortable and up to code but nothing fancy. Each home is custom built based on the size of the family, however.
“All the workers use a lot of diligence in building homes,” Williams said. “All the homes come with a garage and carpeting, but you can’t custom pick windows or a fireplace.”
Williams said the homeowners do have a chance to pick a lot of things in their new homes, so it doesn’t look cookie-cutter inside.
“You can pick out the paint color for your walls and the color of brick you would like,” Williams said. “You can pick out your carpet color and the colors of your cabinets. I was even able to get the cabinets lowered because I am shorter.”
Potential homeowners are even able to select the lot they would want to live on depending on the inventory Habitat has at that time. Williams said Habitat is building in Weatherford and looking for property in other cities in the county.
For further information, contact Trinity Habitat for Humanity at 817-926-9219.