A monthlong application period is now open for the annual Habitat for Humanity of Montezuma County homeownership program.
Molly Greenlee, executive director of the local Habitat group, provided an information session on Thursday night at the St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Cortez for about 15 people.
Greenlee said the nonprofit’s chapter, now in its 11th year, has built a total of six homes but hopes to build one home per year.
“Affordable homeownership is a big need in this area,” Greenlee said. “Housing prices continue to go up.”
Qualifying families in Montezuma County are encouraged to apply for the homeownership program until Feb. 21. Greenlee said the three selection criteria are housing need, willingness to partner and ability to pay.
The selection committee will look for families living in inadequate housing; for example, if a house is crowded, has structural damage or is too expensive. Families also have to show that each adult is willing to put in 200 hours of “sweat equity,” meaning actual work on home construction or office work.
Finally, families must prove they can cover monthly mortgage payments, property tax, insurance and utilities. Habitat for Humanity literature explains that the nonprofit seeks families who are not able to qualify for other housing loans but can afford a Habitat home.
That’s good news for Cortez resident Sandra Monge.
She said she was raised by a single mom and has bad credit, so she has struggled to buy a home. She said there aren’t many options out there for her.
“I mean, I make good money,” Monge said. “It’s just my credit.”
Monge said she would love to put in some sweat equity into her home, but it will be difficult while she works a full-time job.
Once the home is built, Habitat for Humanity sells the home to a family on a zero interest or low-interest loan. So far, all six Habitat homes in Montezuma County have been financed with a zero interest loan, but Greenlee said that will change in 2019.
She said Habitat for Humanity of Montezuma County has partnered with the USDA this year for payment assistance.
In the past, a $150,000 Habitat home with a zero interest loan would mean the family pays $417 per month for a total of $150,000 over 30 years.
A low-interest USDA loan in 2019 would mean a family would pay 1 percent to 3.75 percent interest on a $150,000 home. They would end up paying between $482 to $695 per month, for a total range of $174,000 to $250,000 over 30 years.
That’s still lower than the U.S. average home interest rate of 4.75 percent. After 30 years, a family would pay $282,000 on a $150,000 loan.
To receive an application, call Habitat for Humanity of Montezuma County at 970-565-8312 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
email@example.comThis article was reposted on Jan. 4 to correct Habitat for Humanity’s phone number.