Local Habitat president Elizabeth (Dolly) Decker outlines the parameters of this route to home ownership, explaining that people can access more information, apply for a home online at www.ulstercountyhabitat.org and learn more about the program’s general requirements. Basically, a qualified applicant becomes a “partner” who is expected to contribute 250 hours to the construction process of his or her home. The partner also pays a non-interest-bearing mortgage, plus real estate taxes and homeowners’ insurance on the property. Habitat acquires the land or existing house to be rehabilitated, and the organization, headed by a nine-person board of directors, acts as contractor to get the job done. It works with affiliates like YouthBuild, the Ulster County Board of Realtors, individual and business donors and a team of volunteers coordinated by a site supervisor. Volunteers help by maintaining the database, by scheduling and by contributing at all levels of skills including landscaping, painting and cleaning.
Decker says that Habitat was granted a building on Route 28 – the old Wiedy’s liquidation warehouse – that is now being renovated to use as administrative offices, classrooms and (an invaluable resource) a Habitat ReStore: a place where people can donate materials and fixtures that the organization can sell in order to build more houses. At this time, ReStore is open by appointment only.
Organize a team of friends, family and business associates to give a hand up – not a handout. Come out to Hoe Bowl at 1 p.m. this Sunday to help someone own his or her own home. Hoe Bowl on the Hill is located on Route 9W in Kingston. To reserve a lane, call (845) 338-1414. As a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry, Habitat invites people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses together in partnership with families in need and to eliminate substandard housing conditions in Ulster County. To find out about volunteering with Habitat, call (845) 389-0398 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.