Open house held to aid homeowners

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JEFFERSON CITY – A different type of open house was held on Saturday in Jefferson City.

Rather than a single house on display, River City Habitat for Humanity showed off multiple.  In honor of World Habitat Day on Monday, River City Habitat for Humanity held an open house for the community to learn about their programs.

The first Monday of October is declared as World Habitat Day. This was declared by the United Nations in order to bring awareness to the community that there is a global housing crisis. 

One of the main program goals of River City Habitat for Humanity is to teach people how to become homeowners.

“The program takes about a year, and then we move them into their homes,” Susan Cook-Williams said.

Cook-Williams is the Executive Director at River City Habitat for Humanity.

Unlike what some people may believe, Cook-Williams said that Habitat for Humanity is not free. Each house is sold to a family, however, the programs help them learn to buy the house and take care of it. 

“What Habitat [for Humanity] does is allow people to purchase the home at zero percent interest,” Cook-Williams said. “Their mortgage payment with their taxes and insurance is much lower than rent, so it makes it affordable for people to become homeowners.”

Many of the funds for building houses come from the Re-Store shop. The shop is a place where people can buy unique, used items such as furniture. All of the money from the shop goes towards building houses.

“The store funds about three houses a year in Jefferson City,” Jim Hofmann, the Volunteer Manager at the Habitat Re-Store, said. “We’re still trying to build six houses, and so there’s still a gap for the community to help us fill to be able to fill than need.”

Homeowners purchase their homes from River City Habitat for Humanity for a 25-year mortgage and make a house payment just like anybody else. 

“It is amazing when I read the stories of the applicants that come in to apply for our program, the need that people have to be able to afford housing so that they’re not making the choice between medicine or food or paying the rent,” Cook-Williams said. “So it’s extremely important in my mind that we have affordable housing options in our community and throughout the world."

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