After building 16 homes in the county over 25 years, mostly in Kingston, Ulster Habitat for Humanity has begun construction on one of three homes slated for 3, 5 and 7 Donnas Way, off Glasco Turnpike. From over 30 applications, a prospective “partner family” has been chosen to move in once the first house is built.
Among other criteria, these families must currently pay over 30 percent of their income on rent; ultimately, they pay this amount to purchase the home, along with around 300 hours in “sweat equity” working on Habitat for Humanity builds. According to Habitat project manager Jason Welch, this includes “every single thing from framing the home to painting, trim work — every single aspect” — but the specific work is determined by the individual’s abilities.
“The idea is to teach them as much we can during the process to ease some of the maintenance costs,” Welch said. While “sweat equity” is typically performed on other build projects, this family has the unique opportunity of working on the home that they will ultimately occupy.
The house currently being built, a raised ranch, will cover 1,440 square feet and contain two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Construction started on March 13.
“We feel that everybody deserves safe, decent and affordable housing,” said Welch of the organization’s aims. “Our mission is to get everyone into a home of their own that wants a home of their own. We’re trying to break the cycle of debt and improve the life of them and their children. This gives them the stability to get a jump start on a better lifestyle.”
This home will be the organization’s first that includes a washing machine, which will be donated by Whirlpool. The organization raises most of money through fundraising events and through the national organization’s “ReStore,” which sells gently used furniture brought to the storefront by those trying to clear space in their homes or liquidate their family members’ estates. To contact the ReStore to donate items, call (845) 853-7499; to volunteer, call (845) 340-0907 or visit www.ulsterhabitat.org./volunteer.