Oftentimes people have a roof over their heads but still may not be in the best situations.
The Jacksonville branch of Habitat for Humanity, also known as HabiJax has a mission to provide quality homes for people in need, one family at a time.
“We look for people who qualify that means people who are 50% below the average income here in Jax,” said Thomas Wehner a member of the Habijax Board of Directors. “We expect their credit rate to be above 600, if it’s not then we have a program that will help repair their credit program.”
Homebuyers are required to put down a 5-hundred dollar down payment before the construction can begin on a home. Inside Jacksonville spoke to Shena Simmons a Habijax applicant who just recently reached the build phase.
“It’s affordable, it’s an investment and it’s kind of easy once you get in there and do what they tell you to do. You have your brand new home built from the ground up,” Simmons said.
Home buyers like Shena must put in 300 hours of community service into the program as part of the requirements to qualify for a Habijax home.Generally applicants accumulate these hours by participating in other Habijax builds. They’re not alone in this effort, volunteers from all around the community help make up the Habijax construction teams.
“We’re building a house for somebody. It’s the 16th year that we participated in Habitat for Humanity. As an organization we have a large presence in the city of Jacksonville, we feel it’s extremely important to give back in some way, and this is one of those ways,” said Craig Tomeo a volunteer helping to construct Shena’s home. “It’s a very rewarding experience, especially when the owner or pending owner is with us participating, it gives it that special touch.”
HabiJax is a win-win for everyone. The volunteers get the opportunity to give back to their community and those in need get an affordable home in their name.
“One thing that HabiJax wants to give back to the community, is just that…community. Building families back over in this area again, giving families a reason to begin to move forward in building legacies for their families,” said Davetta Williams a Habijax Volunteer Serves Manager.
From start to finish building a HabiJax home takes around 9 weeks. Shena’s home should be done in April.