JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A sizable grant to Habitat for Humanity will help several families build a future in the years to come.
In the next four years, at least 12 families will be able to afford new housing through a $1.08 million grant to the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Jonesboro, according to a news release from Bill Campbell, Jonesboro director of communications.
The grant was one of six awarded to Habitat for Humanity affiliates across Arkansas by the federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program.
Also, the grant will tie into the creation of a land bank. It will allow individuals to donate land or the city could purchase land in neighborhoods city-wide for use by Habitat for Humanity.
The news release states that Habitat for Humanity has built homes in North Jonesboro and the West End. But with a land bank, the organization could build homes across the city.
Habitat Executive Director Micheal Sullivan said the organization has "a hand up, not a handout" mission.
"The homeowners we partner with still have to have a need for housing, must help build the home, and lastly have to pay a no-interest mortgage," Sullivan said.
Sullivan said there's a big need to meet in the Jonesboro area.
"It's a huge need," Sullivan said. "Families that are low income or on a fixed income. Some of them are elderly, some are veterans, some are renting and some may be living in housing that's dilapidated. And so, there's always a need for housing. Especially, in Jonesboro. And so, the more families we can reach through our program, the better life they have to give to their families and better opportunities they have to provide."
Sullivan said this grant is going to allow them to build more homes than they ever have.
"We were established in 1992," Sullivan said. "We are working on our 20th home now. And so, going from 20 homes since '92 and now in four years to be able to do 12 houses! It's truly a huge impact to our organization. And not only that but the community in Jonesboro. To be able to provide new construction housing for these families that are in need."
Sullivan said owning your own home can make a huge difference in a family's life.
"Housing impacts so many areas of your life," Sullivan said. "When you have a stable home to come to and you're able to keep up and provide for your children that safe place to call home. It gives them that safety. And provides so much opportunity for them and their children."
Sullivan said it can help future generations succeed, as well.
"It also inspires," Sullivan said. "Usually they're first time home buyers. They may be the first in their family to own a home. And so, the more that we can place and inspire kids to know home ownership is possible. I don't have to rent my entire life. And there's nothing wrong with that. If that's the way you want to go. But it is an opportunity that is out there. And so, we want to give those low-income families the opportunity to have home ownership if they desire it."
Sullivan said the Habitat program works to make sure the family succeeds after they're gone.
"It's a hand-up, not a handout," Sullivan said. "These families will help build their homes. And so, they'll be swinging a hammer along with all the volunteers. We'll do educational courses to teach them how to be good homeowners and how to keep the house up. And so, it's not just a giveaway program. They're going to pay a no-interest mortgage on their home. And so, it's truly a full circle program that we have at Habitat."
Sullivan said they're going to need some extra help to put those homes up.
"We're going to lead a lot more volunteers and a lot more help," Sullivan said. "We'll start with two houses and so, we'll need volunteers to help with those. And we'll need families, of course. We'll open our selection process and select two more families for these homes. We currently don't have that process open now, but when it does come open we'll be sure to reach out."
Jonesboro wasn't the only area to receive grant money.
The entire state was impacted from the grant.
Over $7.6 million in Federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program was awarded by the Arkansas Development Finance Authority.
Sullivan said they'd start the beginning of their new construction projects at the beginning of 2018.
To contact the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Jonesboro, click here or call (870) 203-9898.
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