Habitat for Humanity of Bay County continues to make the American dream a reality

The non-profit is finishing up six houses in Callaway, one of them being their 100th home. Just...
The non-profit is finishing up six houses in Callaway, one of them being their 100th home. Just down a few blocks, their first fundraiser house is underway.(WJHG)
Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 6:08 PM CST
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Trying to buy your first home in this market can seem unaffordable and unrealistic for many. But one local non-profit has spent the last three decades changing that reality for families across Bay County.

Homeownership is at the core of the American dream. But for many in Bay County, a dream is all it is. Habitat for Humanity has been making dreams come true for decades, building affordable homes for those in need.

“Oh, there’s a tremendous need. We can’t fulfill the complete need in Bay County as we all know since Michael, things are in pretty dire strains,” Travis Herr, Habitat for Humanity of Bay County board member, said. “Somebody gets a house for the first time and they’ve been living in dilapidated, rat-infested roach-infested quarters for god knows how long it really is. It is moving.”

But it’s not a free pass for homebuyers.

“What we do is they actually end up with a mortgage on the home but it’s for the cost to build a house so they’ll end up with a $140,000 mortgage at 0%. So their payments, maybe $600 or $700 a month, much less than renting an apartment,” Curt Hartog, Habitat for Humanity of Bay County board member, said.

The non-profit is finishing up six houses in Callaway, one of them being their 100th home. Just down a few blocks, their first fundraiser house is underway.

“We wanted to be able to generate some more funds, things are tight for everybody. So the idea was we’re going to build this as a spec house under speculation, hoping that we can sell it for the true value of the home,” Hartog said.

That means if the home is worth about $350,000 and they build it for under $200,000, they can put that extra $150,000 towards building another home. It helps make the American dream a reality for one more family.

“So every time we build a house, we sell it to the homeowner, they’re making payments, all that money goes back into building more houses and more houses,” Hartog said.

Habitat for Humanity is asking for the public’s help to make the dream of homeownership possible for more people in our community.

There are levels of support through tax-deductible donations. Groundbreakers are $1-$250, Wall Framers are $250-$499, Roof Raisers are $500-$999, House Blessers are $1,000-$2,500, and Developers are $2,500 and up.

For information on how to get involved or donate, you can head to https://habitatbay.org/.

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