Three new Habitat for Humanity homes will begin to go up later this year, and meetings are scheduled for residents of southern Santa Barbara County who are interested in becoming a homeowner. The group has been helping people build their own homes since its Via Lucero project was completed in 2007, and looks to house people currently living in unsafe, unsanitary, or over-crowded conditions and making between 40-80 percent of the average median income (for a family of four, that would be between $32,080-$64,150).
The meetings for the Sawyer Avenue project in Carpinteria take place mornings and evenings on various days starting February 4 and running through February 16. (See SBHabitat.org for full dates, times, and places.) Information on the applications and qualifications to apply will be available at the meetings. Other criteria include the ability to pay 35 percent toward a mortgage to purchase the home, legal residency or U.S. citizenship, and the ability to contribute 250 hours per homeowner. In partnership with the Housing Authority, Habitat also offers a series of classes to ensure new homeowners understand the finances of a mortgage, the responsibilities of home ownership, bills, running a homeowners association, financial planning, and more to achieve success.
Jon Peterson, the head of south Santa Barbara’s Habitat for Humanity (they have a North County branch, as well as centers in Ventura and San Luis Obispo), recalled a Via Lucero homeowner whose work on his home gave him such self-confidence that he started his own landscaping business. A few years later, he was able to make a significant donation to Habitat.
Donations and volunteers from the community help Habitat’s homes go up. The Re-store architectural remnant barn, a monthly repair program, as well as the upcoming Sawyer project can all use volunteers. Visit SBHabitat.org for more information.