Season of Wishes: Habitat for Humanity builds houses

Published 9:52 pm Tuesday, December 15, 2020

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The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — Habitat for Humanity builds houses and equity for families in Natchez and Adams County. Habitat for Humanity member Duncan McFarlane said he sees the impact the homes have on families.

“Families who have decent, affordable homes become healthier,” McFarlane said. “The kids have a stable home life and do better in school. We are trying to break the cycle of poverty by putting them in a house that they can afford.”

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Habitat for Humanity is a Christian ministry that builds low-cost houses for lower income families and has done so since 1991 finishing the first house in 1993. In 29 years Habitat for Humanity built 22 homes in Natchez and Adams County.

Recipients of a Habitat for Humanity house first have to fill out an application by calling  McFarlane at 601-807-4956 or Habitat for Humanity at 601-445-8639 to get an application. Then the applicant has to meet three criteria:

* Applicants must have a job,

* Decent credit, and

* Applicants are asked to put in 250 hours of work during the construction process.

Floor plans are drawn up once a family is selected and plans include the number of bedrooms a family needs.

Licensed electricians and plumbers work on the house along with volunteer labor. The houses usually take 11 to 12 months to complete. Houses are sold to the families at cost with a zero interest mortgage making them affordable. McFarlane said mortgages for the habitat houses are often more affordable than the rent the family was previously paying.

COVID-19 limits the amount of volunteers who show up to work to just three or four, McFarlane said. House number 23 has been a work in progress for 13 months and the house won’t be done until January.

McFarlane said volunteers are the biggest need right now. Volunteers work on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Anyone who would like to volunteer can contact McFarlane at 601-807-4956 or Habitat for Humanity at 601-445-8639.

“We don’t have any limitations other than what the governor or the mayor mandates about groups working outside,” McFarlane said. “If I get a big group I can scatter them out and work outside where they aren’t in close quarters.”

Habitat for Humanity doesn’t receive any federal funds and is a non-profit. McFarlane said any monetary donations are appreciated. Donations for Habitat for Humanity can be sent to P.O Box 100 Natchez, MS 39121.