Marianna- Contrary to popular belief, Habitat for Humanity homes are not free.
"Habitat is a hand up, not a hand out,” explained Jackson County Habitat for Humanity Director, Leslie Fuqua. “We sell our home at a 0% interest loan with no profit to us. It's just [the money] we have [spent to build] the house- that's what we sell it to our homeowner for.”
She said house payments usually averaged around $400 a month and that Habitat held their own mortgages. Fuqua said most homeowner managed to make their payments and those who didn’t were able to work out a situation to get back on track.
"We try to work with them let them make it up in the next couple of months, or come up with some kind of payment plan" she said. But that hadn't been the case with the owners of 2927 Harley Drive in Marianna.
Fuqua said the organization had no choice but to start foreclosure proceedings, even after lowering payments to less than $300 per month.
"We've tried everything we can to work with this homeowner,” Fuqua explained. We've refinanced, we've done a lot of different things. They're just not making payments and you can't live for free.”
She told us the situation was both unfortunate, and rare.
"We've been building houses for 25 years and this is the second time we've had to foreclose on one of our homes. This is our 49th home."
Jackson County officials also got involved, placing the issue on Tuesday night’s commission meeting agenda. The homeowner took out a SHIP loan on the house.
"I think right now its forgiven 20% a year over a 10 year period. You don't have to pay it back, you just have to live in the house for 10 years for it to be forgiven" Fuqua said. If the house were to be foreclosed on, the owner would default on the loan.
The homeowner told News Channel 7 he and his attorney were fighting the foreclosure, but refused to comment further.