25th anniversary

San Luis Valley Habitat for Humanity’s office (pictured) has been serving the area for decades.

ALAMOSA— San Luis Valley Habitat for Humanity is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2019.

During that time, 20 households have been built for local families. This includes 50 children under the age of 18.

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry building simple, decent homes in partnership with those in need of affordable housing.

The organization began in 1994 in Mineral County and now serves the majority of the San Luis Valley.

Traditionally, Habitat applicants are unsuccessful applicants for a traditional mortgage.  Habitat’s mission is to serve families who cannot obtain housing through conventional means, such as a bank or another affordable housing organization. Habitat applicants live in substandard housing and are required to live in the service area for at least a year before filling out an application.

Applicants must be willing to partner with Habitat for Humanity by giving a minimum of 500 hours of sweat equity as the down payment.

Service includes helping at events, representing Habitat for Humanity in the community, construction on the homes in the program, and other volunteer tasks as needed.

Applicants must be able to pay back the home mortgage. Applicants also are required to show a strong history of steady income for the past two years.  The minimum monthly salary for an applicant is between $1,100 to $1,600, depending on family size.  This includes paid wages, as well as all other income sources such as government benefits, disability, and social security.

The application process consists of a home visit, home-ownership classes, references, and a credit check. The applicant contributes a minimum of 30 hours of sweat equity before the application goes before the Board of Directors. The process of building and owning a Habitat home is a slow process, often requiring patience.  It takes a year, often longer, for a successful applicant to build and obtain a home. Audrey Liu, Executive Director of SLV Habitat for Humanity noted, “I’ve been involved with our local Habitat affiliate since 1994 and started serving as executive director in 1997. Habitat for Humanity is an amazing opportunity to use my education in architecture to work with families to realize the dream of homeownership. It has been a wonderful journey seeing Habitat’s empowerment over time helping to build strength and stability in the lives of our Habitat families. I am loving every minute of learning and serving for the greater good.

Liu also mentioned that participants often have “A lot of pride,” in the homes that they have helped to build when the process is complete.

Other opportunities offered through Habitat for Humanity include the option for group “mission trips” to build homes and a can recycling program. The organization also hosts an annual Creative Bike Ride fundraiser. SLV Habitat for Humanity is located at 507 Main St. in Alamosa.

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