For the last 26 years, the Cheboygan County Habitat for Humanity has been offering programs to assist the citizens of Cheboygan County in improving or building the place they call home. Cheboygan County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Mandy Martin said there are several programs the entity uses on a day-to-day basis to help people, including the home ownership program.
“Through our program, Habitat Program Partners achieve the strength, stability, and self-reliance they need to build a better life for themselves and their families,” said Martin. “Cheboygan County Habitat offers low to zero interest mortgage options to those who qualify for housing programs and then qualify for a mortgage.”
To qualify for this, an individual must show a need for housing, be able to afford an affordable mortgage payment and down payment, as well as be willing to partner with Habitat for Humanity during the journey to owning their own home.
If someone is already a homeowner, but needs some help to make their home safer, Habitat has a home repair program. “This program is intended to provide funds for the rehabilitation of owner occupied, single family residential dwellings,” said Martin. “Repairs will focus on improvements that will reduce the long term costs of homeownership such as energy efficiency improvements and removal of health and safety risks.”
There are three different divisions of this program.
There are several qualifications people must meet in order to obtain help through the Habitat for Humanity. This includes everyone in the home being subject to a sex offender registry check, as anyone who is a registered sex offender is immediately disqualified from the program. The applicant must also occupy the home and be the owner of the home on the deed and tax documents.
Habitat for Humanity will disqualify anyone from the program if the home is in the condition in which it should be, or if it could be condemned or if the person plans to sell the home after the repairs are complete. Also, if the repairs on the home exceed $15,000 and can’t be split into two phases, it will be disqualified.
Martin said the applicants must also meet the core tenants of program eligibility, meaning need, willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity and the ability to pay. These can all be found on the Habitat for Humanity’s website, or by contacting Martin.
Habitat for Humanity was founded on the concept of Partnership Housing. This concept centered on those in need of decent and affordable places to live working side by side with volunteers to build their future homes. Those homes would be built at no profit, and new homeowners’ house payments would be combined with no-interest loans and donated funds to create “The Fund for Humanity,” which would then be used to build more homes.
“Program Partners invest sweat equity hours into their projects and the projects of others in our housing programs,” said Martin. “This helps them feel pride as they build their home, but also as equally important, helps them learn the skills needed to maintain their home.”
Each year, Habitat for Humanity applies for grants, hosts special fundraising events, raises money through its ReStore and gets donations from the community. This is how the programs offered through Habitat for Humanity are funded. “We are 100 percent community funded at this point and are working on applying for some federal grants to help us increase our capacity to serve,” said Martin. “The Cheboygan Habitat ReStore serves as one source of fundraising for our housing program but also provides new and gently used items to the public at a reduced cost. From building materials to home furnishings, there is something for everyone at the ReStore.”
COVID-19 caused the ReStore and other programs available through the Habitat for Humanity to be put on hold. Some of these have since reopened, and Martin and Habitat for Humanity are looking forward to next year, hoping things are back to normal so they can help more people.
Cheboygan County Habitat for Humanity also participates in a funding program through Habitat for Humanity International called “Cars for Homes.” Community members can donate vehicles, including cars, trucks, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, boats, snowmobiles, farm equipment and construction equipment.
Call Habitat for Humanity at 1-877-277-4344 to schedule your donation or visit www.habitat.org/support/donate-your-car.
More information regarding Habitat for Humanity and its programs can be found at habitatcheboygan.org/