Bhutanese refugee Dinesh Pradhan, along with his wife and children, will move into their new home this week. The Pradhan’s contributed more than 400 hours of sweat equity into building their Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity home. About 300 volunteers helped them.
“We are really excited,” he said. “The main thing is the affordability.”
Habitat is building two duplexes in Harrington Village. The first was completed last week, and celebrated with an open house for donors and business partners. Tours of the homes were given.
Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity built five homes on Albert’s Way in Charlotte in 2013 and 2014. Charlie Magill is on the board of Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity. He said five is the average in Vermont where affiliates in other states are able to build 20 a year. It’s because land is not as affordable in Vermont, he said. “There are a whole series of problems and land is one of them,” he said. “There is a constant need. We should be able to find a better way.”
Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity is one of more than 2,000 Habitat affiliates around the world devoted to building affordable housing.
Magill, of Williston, has been globetrotting for Habitat for Humanity since 1987. It’s the model he finds appealing. “It’s about cooperation,” he said. “The people in need here become partners instead of clients, and they contribute their own labor to build their house that they pay for. It appeals to my conservative philosophy to know that people are not just getting a hand out.”
Volunteers are hard at work building the second Shelburne duplex which will be open for occupancy in the spring. More volunteers and donation are needed. “It’s a chance for more families to leave bad housing,” said Catherine Stevens, Director of Advancement for Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity.
The average Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity home costs about $140,000 to build. That’s half of its appraised market value, Stevens said. Mortgages are on the cost, not on market value.
There are some stipulations to qualifying to own a zero percent interest mortgage with Habitat. Families must have a source of income, need to be living in substandard housing, and must put in at least 400 hours of sweat equity.
“There are two things that make this happen,” Stevens said. “Volunteers and donations. Without those we don’t build houses.”
For more information visit Vermonthabitat.org.