MAYFIELD TWP. — Habitat for Humanity of Lapeer-Tuscola-Huron has a single mission — to bring people together to build homes, communities and hope. Recognizing housing as a basic need of individuals and families, Habitat strives to provide low- to middle-income residents with the opportunity to obtain and maintain homes that are in safe working order.
Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. With community support, Habitat homeowners achieve the strength, stability and independence they need to build a better life for themselves and for their families. Toward that objective, the local Habitat for Humanity expanded its reach to offer services for low-income homeowners in the community.
In Lapeer, Tuscola and Huron counties Habitat continues its Critical Home Repair Program that it has administered for eight years — where homeowners are able to have repairs performed on their home, allowing them to continue to live in their house. Habitat for Humanity will begin taking prequalification applications by phone for the 2021 Home Repair Grant Program on Jan. 25.
Program coordinator John Kulczyckyj said the grant provides free money, up to $7,500, to do critical home repairs such as putting on a new roof, windows, doors, insulation, a new furnace or hot water tank, well and septic systems. Last year 85 families in the three-county service area took advantage of the program.
“It’s important for people to apply early, like in January or February because the money goes fast. If they wait until May it will be too late to do anything this year,” said Kulczyckyj, who is proud of the program and the ability to keep people in safe homes. “It’s my own personal ministry. To see how grateful people are for the help means a lot to me because I know we’re really helping people. I’m so happy to be a part of it the program. It has been very rewarding.”
Kulczyckyj encourages local lowincome homeowners to be preemptive to anticipate their housing needs. “It’s not the time to call if the roof is leaking today. If they’ve been in their home for 20 years, it’s likely the house probably needs a new roof or a furnace. If they can, and they qualify and they’re approved now is the time to consider this before the roof fails or the furnace goes out,” he said.
Due to COVID-19 concerns and state guidelines, said Kulczyckyj and local Habitat executive director Carolyn Nestor, there will be no in-person applications taken. People interested in learning whether they qualify must call the Habitat office (at 810-664- 7111) beginning the week of Jan. 25 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to begin the application process. All relevant paperwork must be mailed to the Habitat office. No in-person drop offs will be accepted.
Funding for the home repair program is through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis, while locally Habitat for Humanity has partnered with ChoiceOne Bank in Lapeer County.
Habitat for Humanity works to serve families making less than 70% of the median income of Lapeer County.
Requirements for persons interested in the Critical Home Repair Program:
• Applicants must have owned home for at least six months;
• Applicants must be current on their mortgage, property taxes and homeowner’s insurance;
• Applicants must have tax returns of the two most recent years;
• Applicants must be able to provide three consecutive months of bank statements;
• Applicants must have copy of the deed;
• Applicants must have copies of their driver’s license, Social Security cards;
• All people on the title must reside in the home;
• Land contract homes do not quality, nor do manufactured homes.
Applicants who haven’t filed taxes yet for 2020 are encouraged to do so as soon as possible. If a homeowner is approved for a grant, they must get two bids by licensed and insured contractors.
“If you meet basic program and income guidelines, Habitat will mail out a full application,” said Kulczyckyj. This must be completed and all supporting documents need to be copied and mailed to the local Habitat for Humanity office (at the Habitat ReStore) at 1633 N. Lapeer Rd., Lapeer MI 48446. Funds become available for the Critical Home Repair Program after May.