Habitat Kent offers accelerated housing program

Maria Vargas was the first in her family to have achieved homeownership with the help of Habitat Kent’s new program. Courtesy Habitat for Humanity of Kent County

Habitat for Humanity of Kent County is addressing the ongoing need for affordable housing with the help of its new Accelerated Homeownership Program.

The program intends to preserve housing stock for lower-income homebuyers with an average area median income (AMI) up to 80% and who are mortgage-ready, equating to $64,000 for a family of four.

“We realize there are a lot of families in Kent County who can get a mortgage with a bank but can’t find a home that is affordable to them,” said Bev Thiel, executive director of Habitat Kent. “Through this program, we partner with families in education and other resources and support to help them achieve their dream of homeownership.”

Through the program, Habitat Kent renovates homes and works with partner banks to provide and sell homes to low- to moderate-income families with low interest rates.

Habitat Kent continues to offer its traditional program, which allows families to buy a new home through the organization with a nearly interest-free mortgage. The program is reserved for families with an AMI up to 60% who are unable to qualify for a mortgage through conventional financing and must complete a minimum of 200 volunteer hours, which typically takes 12-18 months.

“While we will continue to build new homes for our traditional model, we know that if we want to increase the number of families we can get into homes, we have to do things differently,” Thiel said. “Through this program, we can get families into homes faster — in about four to six months.”

Maria Vargas is a recent homebuyer who is the first in her family to have achieved homeownership with the help of Habitat Kent’s new program. Vargas said she was able to get through the program in three months, and it was a very easy process. Her experience inspired her parents to take part in Habitat’s program, and they now are in the process of closing on their first home.

“(They) were very supportive and very helpful,” Vargas said. “Even after, they were there for any questions I had about anything.”

More information on Habitat Kent’s programs is at habitatkent.org.

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