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Partnership Spotlight: Habitat for humanity tri-county partners
“When the homeowner gets to see their home when it’s all completed, they look in the cupboard and the fridge, and they are amazed at how much food is inside,” said Ruth Ann Thompson, a member of the Family Services Team at Habitat for Humanity Tri-County Partners. She was referring to Habitat for Humanity’s partnership with Second Harvest, where Second Harvest stocks the shelves and refrigerator of a newly completed Habitat home with food.
“It’s quite stressful for the families, so any way we can make it an easier transition for them is very much worth our effort,” she said.
The Habitat for Humanity Tri-County Partners provides affordable housing for low-income families in Benton, Franklin and Walla Walla Counties. If a low-income family meets the qualifying requirements and selection criteria, they can partner with Habitat for Humanity to build a home. “A lot of people think the homes are basically free. That’s not how Habitat works,” explained Ruth Ann. “We look at the need, their willingness to partner and their ability to pay. We make sure their income meets the HUD requirements for low-income families. They are required to pay closing costs and to put in 500 hours of sweat equity.”
For families that qualify, going through the homeownership process for the first time can be challenging. The process usually takes 15 to 18 months, and Habitat recognized a need for outside support during the final stages. To ensure their families get off to a good start in their new home, Habitat partnered with Second Harvest to help alleviate stress for their new homeowners. Since 2010, Second Harvest has partnered with Habitat for Humanity for 92 homes, providing food for more than 400 children and 250 adults in Southeastern Washington.
“We really appreciate Second Harvest stepping up at the end when it’s stressful for them after the closing and they’re getting their apartment, or wherever they’re living, packed up and ready to move,” said Ruth Ann. “To know that when they walk into that home there is food available has been a big help to them.”
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