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Habitat for Humanity helps veterans become homeowners
|Future Habitat homeowners, the Wells family, with volunteers from Diamond Hill Investments, corporate sponsor of this first Habitat for Heroes home.
Habitat for Humanity has helped more than 250 families in Franklin County own homes. Now the organization is reaching out to veterans through its Habitat for Heroes program.
On May 19, the walls were raised for the first Habitat for Heroes veteran home in the county. The new home on Eureka Avenue is a long awaited dream for Army veteran Derrick Wells and his family.
Habitat for Heroes is a national effort, which encourages past and present service members to seek homeownership. It provides opportunities to help fellow veterans and families through volunteerism.
According to wife Tarshia Wells, after qualifying for the program and enrolling in homeownership classes, they visited plots of land throughout the county.
They were most drawn to the Hilltop.
Tarshia said the Westside community was receptive and friendly. Neighbors shared local amenities, including churches, parks and businesses.
It has been a goal for several years to own a home, Tarshia said. She added it is rewarding for their six children to see them accomplish this goal and experience the building process.
E.J. Thomas, CEO of Habitat for Humanity - Greater Columbus, said this project is sponsored by Diamond Hill Investments. Diamond Hill not only funded the build, but is providing employee volunteers to assist with construction.
To qualify to purchase a home through Habitat for Humanity, families must live in substandard housing, earn between 30-50 percent of the area median income and be able to repay a zero interest loan.
They must also complete between 200-250 volunteer hours working on their home and other projects.
Tarshia said this is a touching and emotional experience for their entire family. She said Habitat is a supportive program that feels like extended family.
Veterans and families interested in prequalifying for the program should attend a homeowner information meeting.
The next meetings are June 5 from 5-7 p.m. and June 21 from 10-11 a.m. at Habitat for Humanity, 3140 Westerville Road.
For information call Lisa Jones, family services director, at 364-7014.
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