JACKSON, Mich. — The Greater Jackson Habitat for Humanity is hosting a blitz build this week. The goal is to build two homes for people who need them.
Sam Tomlin is one of those people.
“I was born in Lansing. Moved to Boston with my parents just chasing the American dream,” Tomlin said.
He has five children including twins and is ready for a new home. Tomlin says this would be the first time he has ever owned a home, but he needed help.
“I went in fill out the application,” Tomlin said. “It’s based on income and family size. From there you speak with the coordinator, and they go over your application. If you're approved, you go to the next step where you speak with a finance counselor to see what kind of credits you have and your income and everything like that. Then after that, they will pair you with the house.”
His application was approved.
“I’m still overwhelmed,” Tomlin said.
They are not just giving these newly built homes away. Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Wendy Clow says nothing could be further from the truth.
“Our applicants will go through a really extensive financial counseling process where they learn what it takes to get a mortgage, to keep their credit good, to live on a budget, to set financial goals and reach them,” Clow said. “They work through all of that for however long it takes to get ready to be a homeowner and then once they are ready to be a homeowner we do help them get a mortgage.”
Including rolling up their sleeves.
“Instead of a large down payment, what they do is they give up to or at least 300 hours of we call it ‘sweat equity,’” Clow said. “But it's actually volunteer hours. Some of the hours will be spent working on their own houses so they're literally involved in building their own houses. They can spend other hours in our Re-store or doing other volunteer activities so that they're fully invested.”
Tomlin’s 1,400-square-foot home will have four bedrooms, two bathrooms and be energy efficient.
What makes it all possible are the dozens of volunteers there helping raise these homes.
Volunteer Gene Trombley has been doing this for twelve years. Tuesday was his last day in Jackson before moving on to Wisconsin.
“It's the crew mentality, it's the camaraderie of working with the other area people,” Trombley said. “I don't know what it is, but in hindsight, my wife and I have been awfully fortunate over the course of our marriage, and this is an opportunity to give back to somebody that isn't as fortunate. I get a lot of personal satisfaction out of this.”
Both structures on Franklin and Mechanic should be substantially done by the end of the week. It will take about a year or so for them to be completely ready.
Officials say the goal is to build a total of six homes in that area over the next several years.
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