The Mesilla Valley Habitat for Humanity serves the Greater Las Cruces area in Doña Ana County, New Mexico. They have given a hand up (rather than a hand out) to 69 new home owners in the community and are building at least three more homes this build year (October-May). The Mesilla Valley Habitat for Humanity makes a difference in the lives of those living in substandard housing conditions by helping those families into good housing conditions and subsequently changing their outlook on life.
Becoming a Habitat Homeowner is a two-year process from application to move-in. Applications are taken once a year and reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Mesilla Valley Habitat qualifies families based on credit (including credit patterns, types of debt, and attempts to make payments) and income. We can only build for families making between 35% and 60% of the median income in Las Cruces. This income percentage varies with the number of people living in the home.
Habitat homes are sold – not given – to families using a normal mortgage, including taxes and insurance. The difference in cost between a Habitat home and buying a new home on the open market is that Habitat for Humanity doesn’t charge interest on the mortgage. Homeowners pay a $500 down payment at move-in, and monthly mortgage payments of approximately $400 a month. The house payments the families make are then “recycled” to build more homes for others in need. Thousands of volunteer hours go into the building of a single home.
Each Habitat partner family is required to invest at least 500 “sweat equity” hours into the construction of Habitat homes and other Habitat activities that are required to make the homes a reality. In the first two years of partnership with Habitat (or before they move in to their home), families contribute to the needs of the organization as well as the construction of Habitat homes – theirs and other families’. Volunteer labor, funds, and building materials are donated by individuals, churches, businesses, community organizations, Collegiate Challenge groups and RV Care-a-Vanners visiting the community.