November 28, 2021

Habitat for Humanity seeks family for Newton home

Jasper County branch awaits tenants to finish ‘sweat equity’ on residence

Applications are being accepted to put in some sweat equity and final touches of a Habitat for Humanity home on the 900 block of North Fourth Avenue West.

The Newton residence, which broke ground in June, is ready to welcome its first family. Cassie Nemmers, director of outreach for the Habitat for Humanity groups in Dallas and Jasper County Counties, said the organization wants to find that family as soon as possible to dedicate their time and effort into the house.

The house currently includes three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a mud room features a laundry washer and dryer. Eventually, Nemmers said the home will also have a full kitchen equipped with the necessary appliances. Certain types of flooring and other features have not yet been built.

“Depending on when we find a homebuyer, they might have some choices and different types of color options and things like that,” Nemmers said.

Families must meet certain qualifications in order to become homebuyers of a Habitat for Humanity house. Applicants must fall within 30-60 percent of the area median income — which varies depending on household size and the individual signing up — and they also have to show a need for affordable housing.

“So if they’ve never owned a home before … or if they’re maybe living with a family member, if they’re spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing — that sort of thin,” Nemmers said. “They also then have to show a willingness to partner. That’s the sweat equity component.”

Applicants must also agree to complete some financial education classes with Habitat for Humanity. Nemmers said the organization does have an initial pre-screening form individuals can fill out if they’re unsure whether or not they qualify for the home ownership program.

“Once we get a little bit more information from them about their income and their household size … then we’re able to tell them whether or not we can invite them to formally apply,” Nemmers said. “Even if they don’t qualify, they can still take our financial education class.”

In the past some families that could not initially qualify for the home ownership program — either because their debt-to-income ratio was too high or maybe their delinquent debt needed to decrease — have taken the financial education course and were subsequently able to qualify for a home purchase.

“If they’re worried they won’t qualify for whatever reason, I just encourage them to reach out no matter what,” Nemmers said. “Because they might be surprised. And also we could connect them with other resources in the community, as well.”

Habitat for Humanity does not select its applicants based on age, race, gender, religion, disability or family status, Nemmers added; the organization ultimately serves people in need of affordable housing.

To find out more information about applications to buy the Jasper County Habitat for Humanity home, visit the organization’s website www.jaspercountyhabitat.org, or contact Nemmers at 515-471-8686 ext 102 or cnemmers@gdmhabitat.org.

“We have this house and we’re really excited about the idea of putting a family in this home as soon as possible,” Nemmers said. “Also, this won’t be the only home ownership opportunity. We have purchased additional lots in Newton. We do plan to build more over the next few years.”

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

Christopher Braunschweig

Reporter with a strong penchant for community journalism.