Bend Area Habitat for Humanity Provides a Path to Homeownership
“Mom, we’re not going to be homeless, are we?” These words were unheard of in my youth. Not just because my parents managed to keep us securely housed, but also because it just didn’t come up as a possibility in normal conversation.Today it is a real fear for many families. The need for affordable housing is outpacing our community’s ability to build it.
Founded in 1976, Habitat for Humanity International has served more than one million families around the world with homeownership, home repairs and microfinance loans. The Bend area affiliate started in 1989 and is dedicated to providing affordable home ownership opportunities for families and individuals in Bend.
Bend Area Habitat for Humanity’s Executive Director Scott Rohrer says, “In the 30 years that we’ve been in Bend, we’ve built 130 homes. That is a pace of about 4 homes each year. This year we plan to build 11. Next year, 20.” The need is even greater. To be considered for a Habitat home, applicants must prove that they have solid budgeting skills, have and can keep a job that will more than cover the required monthly mortgage payment. They must put in 500 hours of “sweat equity” as their home (or another applicant’s home) is built.
Want to help?
Those eager to make homeownership a reality for their neighbors might fear the idea that they have to start swinging a hammer. While this is a possibility, there are many more opportunities. For instance, you may volunteer at the Habitat ReStore. “We are unique in that the ReStore is covering 100 percent of Bend Area Habitat for Humanity’s operations expenses,” says Sophie Paez, director of retail operations. “That means that any cash donations go 100 percent to home construction,” she says. Volunteers are needed to help staff the store, price items, pick up donations, and a wide variety of other non-construction tasks.
Whether donating time or goods, your contribution to Bend Area Habitat for Humanity helps make home ownership in Central Oregon a reality. A new applicant to the program hopes Habitat Bend will help their family stay in the area. She says, “We both work more than full-time and are actively involved in our children’s lives and in our community. Leaving Bend to find affordable housing is a reality I never considered. My husband was born here.” BendHabitat.org