Representatives of Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit ecumenical Christian housing organization which recently hosted a visit to Southeast Queens by former President Jimmy Carter, marking a return to New York for the 30th annual Carter Work Project, were on hand at Monday’s Community Board 13 meeting to acknowledge the panel for its support and ask for its “formal support” in the future, as well as to encourage residents to get involved in future projects planned for the area.
“We’re here to say thank you,” said Neil Hetherington, the chief executive officer for HFH.
With help from neighborhood volunteers, the organization spearheaded the rebuilding of five area homes, which, according to Hetherington, had been “boarded up and unsightly” for years. He praised the workers for showing “love for the community.” Completion of the homes is scheduled for January, he said.
His colleague Matthew Dunbar, the group’s associate director for government relations and advocacy, added that he is “excited for the work that’s been done and going to be done.”
According to Dunbar, HFH last visited the borough in 2006. Now plans call for approximately two dozen more vacant or dilapidated homes to be reconstructed in Queens Village, St. Albans, Laurelton, and Rosedale.
The homes are projected to be two- and three-bedroom units with one bathroom each. Purchase prices will range from $200,000 to $300,000. Mortgage financing includes 1 percent down payment and 2 percent fixed interest on a 30-year mortgage.
To be eligible, purchasers must be first-time homebuyers, have a FICO credit score of 620 or higher, have no open collections or unsatisfied public records, have no bankruptcies within the last three years and meet certain income guidelines.
Families selected to benefit from the program are required to actively participate in the construction process, earning what Dunbar called “the base for a down payment,” or “sweat equity.”
Anyone interested in applying to the housing program should send an email to Nica Bautista at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (646) 402-6212.
CB 13’s District Manager Lawrence McClean read a proclamation which reads, in part, “Whereas Habitat for Humanity met with and made a presentation to Community Board 13 Queens in 2012 on plans for NYCHA owned property in our area ... Whereas utilizing volunteers from around the country ... they worked on these properties led by former President Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, along with Borough President Helen Marshall from late September through mid-October ... Whereas what were once dilapidated vacant eyesores in our community are now becoming finished homes with grateful families to occupy them ... Be it resolved that Community Board 13 Queens wishes to commend and extend its sincerest appreciation to Habitat for Humanity for bringing this program to our area.”