Buckhannon River Habitat for Humanity is recruiting new members and searching for buildable lots now

BUCKHANNON – The Buckhannon River Habitat for Humanity is searching for more volunteers and lots to build more homes.

Dr. John Mathias, of the Buckhannon River Habitat for Humanity, attended the Oct. 4 Rotary Club of Buckhannon Upshur meeting to discuss their work in the community and how other people can help.

“Our local habitat affiliate, Buckhannon River Habitat for Humanity, was established in 1994 and we have built 12 homes in the county since our inception,” Mathias said. “The most recent build was in Hampton, the three-bedroom two bath, and we had to buy the lot, we had to pay to get a septic system installed. The family was given a 0 percent [interest], 30-year mortgage and we added property tax and homeowners’ insurance.”

Families that take ownership of one of these homes must meet several criteria. A family must be dealing with overcrowding or living in a home in poor repair and meet the income guidelines.

“They must meet income requirements based on federal guidelines for the family size,” Mathias said. “They have to have good credit, and this disqualifies a lot of our people that haven’t paid back loans, or they have too much debt. They have to repay the mortgage, maintain the property and we require they assist with the build; we require them to spend 350 hours on the build.”

These hours can be done through family members or friends, and they can volunteer at the Upshur County Parish House or take classes online about budgeting. He said several businesses have donated materials, supplies and cash to help finish a build.

“What do we need? We need continued financial support, we need volunteers, not only to help us with construction, but volunteers to serve our board,” Mathias said. “We have eight board members presently, and we would like to double that and have 16 to increase our footprint in the area. We need lots to fill; it’s hard to find lots and we will partner with families. I think a lot of the folks could benefit from our services, but they don’t know we’re out there.”

The Buckhannon River Habitat for Humanity can be reached by calling 304-470-2922.

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