Habitat For Humanity Growing Homes In The Valley
ESPAÑOLA – It has been 20 years since the Habitat for Humanity of the Española Valley and Los Alamos first formed. It started small run primarily by volunteers but over the years has grown to be an organization that employs 7 people, has built 10 new homes from the ground up, completed 56 major home repairs for local residents and more recently started the ” A Brush With Kindness ” program which provides outdoor maintenance and beautification for people who are unable to undertake basic maintenance and repairs to their homes.
Yvonne Maestas, the Executive Director and employee of Habitat for the last 17 years explained that Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that receives no government money but provide housing assistance and repairs to local residents in need.
The work of Habitat for Humanity is done almost entirely by volunteer labor, but it still cost a lot of money to build and repair homes. Habitat for Humanity raises funds through fundraising and their ReStore and thrift store.
The Española Valley Habitat ReStore was the first Habitat for Humanity ReStore in the state of New Mexico. Originally opened in Arroyo Seco, the ReStore relocated to Española in 2010 and has grown to be one of Habitat’s largest fundraising operations. The ReStore sells building supplies and household items donated by individuals and supporting businesses. The store also sells a limited number of new or refurbished items such as the line of GreenSheet paint products, made primarily from reprocessed and recycled paint.
A few months after the ReStore opened in Española the opportunity to rent the surrounding buildings came up and Habitat for Humanity opened a thrift store. The ReStore and the thrift store jointly provide the bulk of the financial resources the program uses to build and repair homes throughout the Española Valley and Los Alamos.
Habitat for Humanity has acomplished much but they Maestas stressed the need for more volunteers. “We can always use more volunteers. We can build more homes and do more work with more volunteers .” Individuals and groups interested in helping are encouraged to contact Maestas directly.
Community members seeking assistance can contact Habitat for Humanity to inquire about home repairs and landscaping or ask about applying for the new home program. All applicants must meet 3 criteria:
- They must be low to middle income
- If they are seeking home repairs they must own the home
- They must be willing to put in sweat equity. Volunteers do almost all the work and the recipients must be willing to help. If they are not able to swing a hammer there are many other ways to volunteer.
Applicants seeking to be part of the new house program must also demonstrate a need for the house.
Maestas stressed how good the odds are for people who actually qualify to receive a home. New house opportunities are coming up soon and the organization typically receive only 15 applicants per available house. Those selected for the new home program will help in the construction and then receive a 30-year 0% interest mortgage to pay off the expense of building the home.
A typical house payment is around $500 per month, often less than what the applicants were paying in rent.
If your family or a family you know could benefit from this program you are encouraged to contact Habitat for Humanity of Española Valley and Los Alamos at 505-747-2690, or stop by the ReStore or thrift store at 726 N Riverside Drive in Española . You can also take some time and explore the stores and see what they have. You may very well walk out with something you need at home for a discount price.