Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Habitat for Humanity formed for Blaine County

Organization hopes to build this year

Express Staff Writer

A new chapter of the national organization Habitat for Humanity has been formed in Blaine County. Associated with the Magic Valley Habitat for Humanity, the group seeks donations in order to begin the process of buying land and building houses.

Habitat, which was started in 1976, has long been supported by former President Jimmy Carter.

Families in need of decent shelter apply to local Habitat affiliates. The affiliate's family selection committee chooses homeowners based on their level of need, their willingness to become partners in the program and their ability to repay the loan. In Blaine County, to qualify a family must have an income of 50 to 60 percent of the area's median income, approximately $35,000 to $37,000 for a family of four.

"If we can get land, we hope to break ground in August, and have a ribbon cutting by Thanksgiving," affiliate Maryanne Whitcomb said. "Another part is we're going to go as green as possible."

Habitat has its own home designs and guidelines. They are:

· Simple: Habitat houses are modestly sized—large enough for the homeowner family's needs, but small enough to keep construction and maintenance costs to a minimum.

· Decent: Habitat uses quality, locally available building materials. Trained staff supervises Habitat construction and educates volunteers and partner families. House designs reflect the local climate and culture.

· Affordable: The labor of volunteers and partner families, efficient building methods, modest house sizes and a no-profit, no-interest loan make it affordable for low-income people around the world to purchase a Habitat for Humanity house.

To donate either money or land to the Blaine County Chapter of Habitat for Humanity, contact Becquel Smith at First Bank of Idaho, 622-2277. You can also send a check, flagged for Habitat for Humanity Blaine County Chapter, to Habitat for Humanity of the Magic Valley, Inc., P.O. Box 3034, Twin Falls, ID 83303-3034.

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