Tuesday the Perry Kiwanis Club was visited by Omar Padilla, outreach coordinator for the Dallas County Habitat for Humanity.
Padilla has led the low-income housing group since it returned to Dallas County about three years ago.
The Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, Christian organization with the motto, “Seeking to put God’s love into action, Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity bring people together to build homes, communities and hope.”
Padilla said Perry as a whole has a lot of aging housing stock. There has not been a lot of building for several years, he said, and several of the older homes need repairs, maintenance and updates.
He said the Dallas County Habitat for Humanity is searching for lots on which to build modest homes. There are some available by the elementary school, for instance.
A family has to meet three criteria in order to acquire a new house. They must have a need for a house, need to purchase the house and put in 400 hours of sweat equity. They must take 23 to 25 courses. These include many topics, including financial responsibility.
Padilla stressed that payments for a home should not be more than one-third of a family’s income.
The loans for a family purchasing a home through Habitat for Humanity have no interest or very little interest. Padilla said the houses are sold at market value and are then placed on the tax roles, which benefits the community. Payments received are then used for other Habitat projects.
A large number of families live a long while in their homes, Padilla said, and they must repay the loan in full if the house is sold before the loan is paid off.
There are 10 applicants for refurbishing homes this year, he said. They must put in at least six hours of sweat equity and take two hours of financial responsibility. These homes may be eligible for up to $5,000 in assistance.
The houses have a forgivable loan that decreases to nothing over time the longer the family lives in the house. If they sell the house before the forgivable loan, they must repay a portion of the loan calculated from how long they lived in the house after the loan.
In the last three years, Dallas County Habitat for Humanity has built one house and provided repair for 35 others. They will be working in Perry at the end of September and are looking for volunteers to assist with the work needed to be done. Habitat may be contacted at 515-471-8686.
Welcoming Padilla was two-year Kiwanis Club member the Rev. Jeremy Winter.