(Seguin) -- The Guadalupe Valley Habitat for Humanity organization will be challenging itself to build not one but two homes in Seguin this coming year.
Board President George Nisson says the local chapter is in the process of selecting the new owners for these two new homes. He says the group is excited that for the first time, they will launch the building of house number 19 and 20.
"The qualifications, first off, there has to be need. So somebody that is already doing pretty good isn't going to qualify. You have to be a permanent resident and you have to live in the county and they are required to be within 30 to a maximum of 80 percent of the median income for Guadalupe County. Of course, that's a little tough for people, so we break it down. For a family of five, that would be a minimum of $19,100 up to maximum of $50,850. The other thing is that the people have to be willing to partner. They have to help with putting in work and now that we have a store going, it doesn't have to necessarily be at the build site, but they do have to necessarily put in 200 hours of work per adult that's going to be in the house -- per over 18," said Nisson.
Nisson says Habitat volunteers work hard throughout the year to not only build the home but also to find just the right candidates to occupy it. He says in the end, the house is not given to families. He says they earn them by contributing sweat equity hours and paying the mortgage themselves.
"They have to (have) a steady verifiable income. They've got to have an employment history of six months to show that they're stable and that they will be able to re-pay a mortgage. So far, I don't think any of our mortgages have exceeded $500 a month. That's cheaper than rent, but it still is a payment. Habitat, we're not a charity, we are a hand up. We're looking for people that need a hand up to get on the way and it's amazing what it can do. You're providing a family with stable affordable housing. I was just at a seminar and I got reminded that the very first Habitat affiliate in the nation was San Antonio and that very first home that they built -- the family still has it and four kids went to college. So that's the kind of thing that we're looking to do," said Nisson.
Nisson says Habitat for Humanity is more than just about giving folks a chance to own a home. He says it's about community, volunteerism, faith and about paying it forward.
"A number of our families have just been remarkable and they stayed and continue to volunteer at Habitat, which we really like. That shows commitment and we love to that see happen," said Nisson.
The houses are being planned on properties located on Dolle and Mesquite Streets. The group at the end of this month is expected to complete and hand over its 18th home being built in the 300 block of Mesquite.
Applications may be obtained from the Seguin-Guadalupe County Public Library, the Habitat store from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, or online at guadalupevalleyhabitat.org. The new Habitat for Humanity store is located on West Court Street just across from the Guadalupe County Justice Center parking garage. Applications are encouraged to be turned in as soon as possible.