Lowndes Co. Habitat For Humanity building five homes for families

Valdosta Habitat for Humanity
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 11:34 AM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Everybody should be able to have safe, decent and affordable housing.

High-interest rates and the cost of homes are making it harder for people to buy homes. But Habitat for Humanity is helping Lowndes County families reach their dreams.

After heavy volunteer work, lots of supplies and monetary donations, Habitat for Humanity provides families and businesses with a nice welcoming place to call home.

Valdosta Fire Department responded and helped their community once again in a time of need.
Valdosta Fire Department responded and helped their community once again in a time of need.(Source: WALB)

“I’ve always felt that community service is really important. I really enjoy giving back to my community. It really touches my heart to know that with the houses that we’re building and everything that we’re doing, we’re not only giving back to the community but helping families in need and also giving people in Valdosta a chance to be first-time homeowners,” Jordan Thomas a Valdosta State University student volunteer, said.

Freedom Build is the name of that home. Fortunately, Hurricane Ian didn’t hit the area. But a group of dedicated firefighters helped their community at the last minute, like always.

“I enjoy helping others regardless of the situation if I know it or not, but that does make it a little extra special knowing that it went to a family in need. We took a couple of hours and we helped out just finish the roof because of the incoming storm. That way they wouldn’t have to redo it or any of the inside,” Eleana Rodriquez, a firefighter, said.

Families that receive Habitat homes, don’t just receive a free gift, they have to earn it.

This is the Freedom Build project for 2022.
This is the Freedom Build project for 2022.(Source: WALB)

“They have to enlist in home education, home-ownership education, financial education. They have to volunteer anywhere from 300-500 hours depending on the family size. Before they are eligible to receive a home. Once they receive the home, they have to pay a mortgage just like you and me. The big difference is and, here’s the huge benefit, it’s 0% interest,” Michael Bourgoin, executive director for Valdosta-Lowndes Habitat for Humanity, said.

Right now, they have four homes underway in Lowndes County. One is Saint John’s Evangelist Catholic Church.

“All of the volunteers and all the funding to build this home is coming from Saint Johns. Which I think is tremendous,” Bourgoin said.

They tell me the amount of time it takes to build these homes varies, but it usually takes them about five months.

“Next month, we have another big build starting. Being done by Christ Episcopal Church. They’re also sponsoring the church and the building in its entirety. And that one is going to be a unique build for an ADA family. A mom with a severely disabled young child,” Bourgoin said.

Lowndes County Habitat for Humanity has built over 260 homes since they originated in 1987, and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

Habitat for Humanity leaders said the volunteers are really glad to help. They ride by and look at the work they’ve done, and immediately get amazed.

“The family member usually ends up thanking us for giving them the home. And I have to remind them that we didn’t give them the home. They earned it. They took a lot of classes, a lot of hard work, and now they have to pay for it. They’re married to it for the life of the mortgage,” Bourgoin said.

If you’re looking for a way to give back to the community, you can volunteer to help build one of these homes by contacting Habitat for Humanity at (229) 245-1330.