By David Esteppe
Before a presentation by the Director of Development for Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity (AHHH), the Lewisburg Rotary Club nominated and elected its slate of officers for 2015-2016 on Monday.
Elected to serve beginning on July 1, are Martha Hilton, president; Dylan Boone, president-elect; Steve Hunter, vice-president; Matt Burns, treasurer; David Smith, secretary, Sherry McCormick Hawkins, director; Robert Bittinger, director; and Liam D. Esteppe, sergeant-at-arms.
Director of Development for AHHH Julia McCoy gave a brief history of the non-profit’s last 25 years of serving Eastern West Virginia. AHHH currently serves Greenbrier, Pocahontas and Pendleton counties.
McCoy explained that AHHH partners with families in need of either a new home, or extensive home repairs to bring a family’s home status to a secure and stable place.
Families apply for selection to be helped, and once chosen are given astute financial counseling and basic home maintenance training. Then each family provides at least 240 hours of sweat equity in building homes either for themselves or other families. Once the family’s home is complete, the family qualifies for an interest free mortgage.
The money for the land, homes and construction comes from grants and donations from the community, which sometimes arrive via an estate leaving AHHH a parcel of land or an unwanted house and the land on which it sits. AHHH holds the mortgages for partner families, and the money paid back gets recycled to the next qualifying family.
One Rotarian asked how successful families are in maintaining stability once in a home and if AHHH screens applicants for drug use. McCoy said that there is a very low default rate amongst partner families. She also said that families are not screened for drug use; however it would be difficult for a family suffering through drug addiction issues to complete the arduous application process and training, as well as to complete the sweat equity involved with placement into a home. McCoy added, “The level of pride involved with being a home owner is a powerful motivator for a family to keep and maintain their home. Given this opportunity, few people are willing to lose it.”
AHHH also runs and operates the Re-Store in White Sulphur Springs. The store carries a plethora of quality home furniture, appliances and home decor. These items come to the store via tax-deductable donations and the proceeds from the store help raise necessary funds for AHHH.
For questions about AHHH, and volunteer or donate monies and household items, contact Julia McCoy at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 304-647-3342.