BLOCK BY BLOCK, HABITAT FOR HUMANITY WILL TURN ‘ZOMBIE’ HOMES INTO AFFORDABLE HOMES.
Throughout the city of Spokane, there are hundreds of forgotten homes that sit empty and there are hundreds of people that are in need of a decent and affordable place to live. To provide a lasting solution, Habitat for Humanity-Spokane will be rehabbing ‘zombie’ homes in neighborhoods like West Central and Northeast Spokane. When finished, Habitat will sell these newly remodeled homes to qualified low-income families through their Derelict Housing Acquisition and Homeownership Program.
“We are able to help families achieve the dream of homeownership by providing them with an opportunity to purchase a home that they helped build, at an affordable cost,” said Habitat-Spokane CEO Michelle Girardot. “We’ll put together a financing package for each family so that they pay no more than 30% of their income towards their monthly mortgage payments – and that includes their principal taxes, insurance, utilities and interest.”
The high cost of housing is a growing issue in the Spokane market with limited inventory and rising rental and home costs. In 2017, there was a 2.4% vacancy rate for rental properties in Spokane, nearly half the rate of 2005. In addition, the monthly supply of homes for sale has significantly decreased every year since 2014.
Habitat provides a solution to that crisis through its Homeownership Program.
Families and individuals in need of a safe and affordable place to live work in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. This includes building their own home (and their neighbor’s homes) and working in the Habitat Store to complete required “sweat equity” hours. They are also required to take financial workshops and classes that prepare them to purchase their home and pay an affordable mortgage.
“Affordable homeownership through Habitat for Humanity helps families achieve the strength, stability, and the self-reliance they need to build a better life for themselves and their families,” said Girardot. “Our program is not a hand out, rather a hand up for families.”
In order to qualify, applicants must be in need of better housing, be willing to partner with Habitat to complete all requirements and they must be able to pay an affordable mortgage (which will be no more than 30% of their income).
Habitat for Humanity is calling all businesses and individuals to join this revitalization effort. Volunteer labor, partnerships with apprenticeship programs and corporate partners are what keep the mortgages affordable for future homeowners.
Businesses and volunteer groups are encouraged to quickly reserve spots on the construction calendar as work to begin restoring the houses will start on January 2 and continue through the Spring.