Habitat for Humanity Introduces New Home Repair Program

Mahaska County Habitat For Humanity home repair program.

Habitat for Humanity has a long history in Mahaska County, building new homes for qualifying families for over two decades. Last year the local Habitat board decided to expand their services to include home remodeling projects. Board members felt such a service was greatly needed in Mahaska County, and that Habitat was uniquely qualified to help meet that need. Board member Andy Baker related that “Habitat has long done a fantastic job building new homes, and numerous local organizations do a great job doing small scale projects such as painting, yard work, and small repairs. Where we saw a significant gap locally was in providing affordable large scale repairs to qualifying families.” Two pilot projects were undertaken in 2016, one in Oskaloosa and one in Taintor. Both projects involved replacing roofs on existing houses. Following the success of these projects the board is actively seeking applications for multiple projects in 2017.

As with Habitat’s new home builds home repair projects are not a free service, but are a no-interest loan from Habitat to the homeowner. In addition to being a zero-interest loan, Habitat’s use of volunteer labor and agreements with suppliers keeps costs very low. According to Baker, one of last year’s roofing projects would have cost the homeowner nearly $10,000, but thanks to Habitat she was able to get the work done for under $3,000. Baker says this financial arrangement is the best of both worlds. “By charging the homeowner for these services we are helping teach them accountability and good financial management, which are highly important skills. At the same time, we are able to provide a needed service for them at a cost far below market value. Both clients we worked with in 2016 would not have been able to afford the repairs they needed without assistance such as this. In one case, the family was having water in their home every time it rained, but could not afford the repairs. Now they have a watertight roof and don’t need to stress when rain is in the forecast.” The type of projects Habitat is currently targeting are those with a typical cost of $3-10,000. Possible examples include roofs, bathrooms, wheelchair ramps, and interior flooring. Projects are completed using professional grade materials and work is overseen by construction professionals.

Applicants must live in Mahaska County, own their home, and have an income that is between 30% and 80% of the county average income. Applications can be picked up from the Habitat for Humanity office at Central United Methodist Church, or printed off from the Mahaska County Habitat for Humanity Facebook page. Questions can be directed to Executive Director Bryce Abbas (295-5805) or Family Selection Chair Andy Baker (673-3843).

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Posted by on Mar 26 2017. Filed under Clubs and Organizations, Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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