Habitat builds Natchez resident a new home

Published 1:25 am Monday, September 3, 2007

Natchez — For Natchez resident Chantel Marsaw, the chance to own her own house is more than a little exciting.

“I still can’t believe it,” she said.

Her new three bedroom, one-and-a-half bath 1100 square-foot Smith Street home — built courtesy of Habitat for Humanity — will be a great improvement, she said.

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“Right now, I’m living in an old, old trailer that belonged to my great-grandparents,” she said.

Marsaw, a waitress at Ruby Tuesday’s who also works at Wal-Mart, has four daughters between the ages of five and 12.

Marsaw decided to apply for the Habitat program after hearing about it from a friend who had also received Habitat-built house.

Habitat for Humanity has built 11 houses in the Natchez area including Marsaw’s, Secretary-Treasurer for Habitat for Humanity Duncan McFarlane said.

In fact, Marsaw’s house will be the fourth Habitat house built on Smith Street, he said.

Using a volunteer force, the organization is able to keep construction costs to a minimum by only having to pay for materials and supplies, McFarlane said.

Once a family goes through the application process and is selected, each adult in the house has to work 250 hours on the project, he said.

Once the project is completed, the organization adds up the construction costs and sells the house to the family at cost.

“They make no downpayment and there are no closing costs,” he said. “We finance the mortgage at zero interest for 25 years. That keeps the payments extremely low.”

With taxes and insurance costs added to the principal payment the family will have to make every month, the total house note adds up to only about $250 a month, McFarlane said.