Wood County Habitat for Humanity seeking buildable lots

Kelly J. Kaczala

        Habitat for Humanity is looking for buildable lots in Wood County to develop affordable housing.
        Habitat services Wood County residents at low and modest income levels by building affordable housing.
        In the last few years, they have built in Walbridge, Northwood, Bradner, Rossford, Weston, and most recently in Bowling Green.
        “We’re at a point where we’re trying to identify locations to build our Habitat homes,” said Mark Ohashi, the director of Habitat. The non-profit group would like to have an inventory of at least four lots, but preferably a few more, so the organization can plan for the next three years.
        “Our goal is to build throughout Wood County. In order to accomplish that mission, we’re going to need lots to build on,” he said.
        The group acquires lots either through donations or purchasing land, he added.
        “Historically, we have had lots donated, but we are in a position to buy lots if the prices are not too high,” he said.
        “Donations are great. Very much appreciated,” he added. “There are tax incentives and other deduction incentives for that. That’s how we’ve been acquiring a large majority of our lots. But we’re also willing to purchase lots as well so long as the costs are reasonable. Our board sets a certain amount as to what we are able to spend.”
        Habitat also rehabs homes as well.
        “We have been getting into rehab work. But that’s slowly developing,” he said.
        There are two different levels of volunteers used at the build sites.
        “Core crews” consist of skilled volunteers who have experience building homes, he said.
        “They are familiar with power tools and with different areas of construction. They are available regularly on our construction sites so they gain that exposure. A lot of times they might be retired people who made a living in construction.”
        Then there are “novice” volunteers who have other jobs, but express an interest as part of a group.
        “They could be corporate groups, sponsorship groups, and church groups,” he said. “A lot of times when we build with companies, we’ll get novice volunteers from those offices who come out for a day or on a day when we partner with a different company.”
        “We’re always looking for volunteers, whether to be on a committee or on a core crew,” he said.
        Generally, it takes about four months to build a house, he said.
        “We are building two houses and rehabbing one house this year,” he said.
Habitat homeowner
        To become a Habitat home owner, contact the office at 419-353-5430.
         “We’ll do a pre-application process. That’s the journey towards being selected for a Habitat home,” he said. The families who are approved are required to put in “sweat equity” hours on the build site. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage.
        Families who are approved for the program also have to meet other requirements.
        “They have to take homeownership education workshops once per month, and complete a financial management certificate. So there’s a couple of different requirements they have to complete along the way,” he said.
        Habitat has built several houses in Northwood and Walbridge.
        “We’re actually rehabbing a house in Northwood in March on Joseph Street. And we built two Habitat homes in Walbridge as the result of a donation of two lots in 2015,” he said.
        “Our Habitat home construction projects are a win-win for the prospective homeowners and for the villages or towns in which we build. We work with prospective homeowners to assure they are able to sustain their housing. Also, we improve the tax base and add loving families dedicated to the community,” said Ohashi.
        If anyone might have a buildable lot they would consider donating or selling to Habitat, they could contact Ohashi at 419-353-5430 or email mohashi@wchabitat.org.
        Habitat for Humanity of Wood County partners with people in Wood County and all over the world to help build or improve a place they can call home. Since its inception, Habitat for Humanity of Wood County has built 43 homes. For more information, visit wchabitat.org.


The Press

The Press
1550 Woodville Road
Millbury, OH 43447

(419) 836-2221

Email Us

Facebook Twitter

Ohio News Media Association