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Friday, November 1, 2013
In the past 20 years, Bedford Habitat for Humanity has concentrated most of its building efforts in the town of Bedford. In an effort to fully serve the rest of Bedford County, a series of meetings has been scheduled in November and December to provide citizens on both the north and south sides of the county an opportunity to learn more about the organization.
The one-hour meetings will take place at Brookhill Wesleyan Church in Forest on Monday and on Dec. 2, and at Bethlehem United Methodist Church in Moneta on Thursday and Dec. 5 at 7 p.m.
The November meetings will deal with the benefits of home ownership, the advantages of a Habitat low-cost mortgage, the qualifications needed to become a Habitat partner, how to apply for a new home, training in home ownership, financial responsibility counseling, and the concept of sweat equity. The December meetings are designed to assist people with the application process.
There are a number of misconceptions about who qualifies to partner with Habitat in building a new home. The first misconception is that anyone in need of adequate housing qualifies. This is not true. Another is that Habitat provides free houses. This also is not true.
A person who wants to partner with Habitat must pass a number of criteria to qualify for a new home. He or she must establish a need, meet the income requirements, be employed, have an acceptable credit rating, be willing and able to pay a low-cost mortgage, and be willing to provide sweat equity in building the house. Sweat equity can be achieved by attending classes sponsored by Habitat, by going to college or by actively participating in building the house.
One of the problems Bedford Habitat for Humanity has encountered in qualifying partners in the past is finding applicants who have an acceptable credit rating. The organization plans to assist people in learning how to improve credit scores and how to set and live within a budget. In doing so, it is hoped that people who may not currently qualify for a new home will be able to once they get their financial picture clarified.
The meetings are open to all citizens of Bedford County.