Q. What does Monroe County Habitat for Humanity do, exactly?
A. There are many misconceptions about how Monroe County Habitat for Humanity serves our community. The most common misconception is that they give free homes to unemployed people, which couldn’t be further from the truth. MC Habitat for Humanity is based on “neighbors helping neighbors with a hand up, not a hand out.” Kelly Kemmerer, Executive Director of the organization, spoke with us about the the unique services that MC Habitat offers and how they can help you and your family.
Q. Tell us about the general mission of Monroe County Habitat for Humanity (MCHFH)?
A. The mission of our organization is “Seeking to put God’s love into action, Monroe County Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.” The vision of MCHFH is “a Monroe County where everyone has a safe, decent place to live.”
Q. What motivated you to work with MC Habitat for Humanity and what is your role currently?
A. In 2010, I was working on completing my master’s degree at ESU, wanted to get more involved in the community and started volunteering for Monroe County Habitat for Humanity. As I learned more about the organization I was impressed with its mission, and the fact that homeowners gain self-sufficiency and the opportunity for long term stability when they partner with MCHFH. I continued volunteering and was surprised 3 years later when I received an offer for a position.
Q. What are some common misconceptions about your organization?
A. Many people believe that Habitat for Humanity gives free homes to unemployed people, and that could not be further from the truth. Monroe County Habitat for Humanity is based on the philosophy of “neighbors helping neighbors with a hand up, not a hand out.” MCHFH partners with homeowners and struggling renters who earn 60% or less of median income to empower them have safer, more decent homes. Partner families contribute sweat equity hours and pay for their homes, or the materials to repair their homes through low and zero interest loans.
Q. What is difference between your Home Preservation and Home Ownership programs?
A. The home ownership program helps struggling renters to become homeowners. A renter’s earnings must fall within a stated range that will allow them to become a successful homeowner. The applicant supplies 250 hours of sweat equity to MCHFH per person and they attend financial literacy classes. If they are approved to purchase a Habitat home the applicant will agree to a 30-year interest free or low interest mortgage.
Home Preservation, on the other hand, enables low-income homeowners to make necessary, and sometimes critical repairs to their homes.
Q. Through your Home Preservation program you’re able to make home repairs for qualifying families?
A. Yes, home preservation enables low-income homeowners to make repairs that increase the safety and health of their home. These repairs include, but are not limited to, roof replacements, mold remediation, deck and porch repairs, new appliances, new floors and windows, and handicap accessible bathroom modifications. Homeowners must have owned their home for at least two years, be up to date on mortgage and property and school taxes and have homeowner’s insurance..
To qualify for the home preservation program, the homeowner must agree to volunteer on another partner family’s home preservation project before their own. The homeowner will then also agree to volunteer on their own home preservation project each day alongside the MCHFH volunteers once it is underway. I have had several applicants tell me they were apprehensive about volunteering; these same volunteers have reported to me when their projects were finished and said they missed working alongside the volunteers who came to their home. They say that they enjoyed meeting new people, learned a lot and had a lot of fun while the work was going on. Many of our partner families have become permanent volunteers with our organization. Home Preservation allows neighbors to help neighbors with a hand up to safe, healthy homes.
Finally, the home preservation partner family agree to pay MCHFH back for the cost of materials used in their project. Volunteers complete the labor, so project costs are kept to a minimum. MCHFH offers 0% interest 5 year loans for Home Preservation projects.
Q. Who is eligible to receive your services?
A. To apply for home preservation, a homeowner must:
• Fall at 60% or less of median income
• Have owned home in Monroe County for at least 2 years
• Be up to date on property and school taxes, and mortgage
• Be willing to partner
Q. Does Monroe County Habitat for Humanity pay for everything?
A. Monroe County Habitat for Humanity pays for all project costs up front. MCHF requires that homeowners repay just the cost of materials used on the project through an interest free loan over the course of 5 years.
Monroe County Habitat for Humanity is “neighbors helping neighbors with a hand up, not a hand out!”
Q. What is the best way to find out more information?
A. For more information please visit our website at
www.habitatmc.org or call (570) 216-4390
Q. How can residents and businesses provide support for the organization?
A. Volunteers are needed! No skills are needed, but skilled volunteers are greatly appreciated, as well as job supervisors. There are 30 home preservation projects being scheduled throughout Monroe County this year.
Volunteers are needed for committees including event planning, finance, homeowner support, construction, public relations, and faith relations.
Monroe County Habitat for Humanity operates solely on grants, fundraisers, and donations. Donations are greatly appreciated! Donate to Monroe County Habitat for Humanity – Monroe County Habitat for Humanity (nonprofitsoapbox.com)
Car Donations to Car for Homes are needed! Unwanted cars, running or not can be donated to Cars for Homes at 877-277-4344 or at www.habitatmc.org/donate/cars-for-homes
Car donations made to Cars for Homes in Monroe County directly benefit Monroe County Habitat for Humanity and you may qualify for a tax deduction. Cars are either sold at auction or recycled for their steel. Monroe County Habitat for Humanity receives all proceeds less a processing fee.
Monroe County Habitat for Humanity also needs help in spreading the word about our programs, need for donations and need for volunteers! Please tell your friends.
It is only with the support of community members like you that Monroe County Habitat for Humanity can continue to build better lives in Monroe County!
MONROE COUNTY HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
(570) 216-4390 | habitatmc.org
354 Memorial Blvd. Tobyhanna, PA 18466