The deadline for applying to join the House of Habitat for Humanity is approaching

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (Nebraska) – Buying a new home can be stressful, and the deadline for applying for a home to a local nonprofit is approaching for people in need. The Grand Island Area Habitat for Humanity is accepting applicants for habitat homes through February 28.

Those who have not received an application must attend an information session, which is where they will receive their application. Only three sessions remain, with the next one taking place on Saturday 11 February from 13:00-17:00

“The change we’ve made this year is that the information classroom is early in the application process,” said Alyssa Heagy, executive director of the Grand Island Area Habitat for Humanity. “It’s always been a part of the process, where they complete a phone interview, then an application, and then they take a class. This year, we got rid of the telephone interview and welcomed everyone to class.”

Heagy says the other sessions will take place on February 19 from 1-5pm and February 21 from 5:30-9:30 More than 70 applications came in last year, but only three houses were built. Most of them were denied due to incomplete applications, and the organization says the information sessions are one way to reduce the chances of that happening this year.

“In class we take them page by page through the app,” Heagy said. “What we found was that we were creating barriers within the application process by not explaining what information we are asking for. Why is this important?”

He says incomplete applications are an automatic rejection and the reason the number of homes built has been low is because The Habitat lacks a key component in producing more homes.

“The number fluctuates,” Heagy said. “Historically it’s been between three and four homes each building season. We’ve been stuck at three for the past two years because we don’t have a full-time construction manager, so our houses are built by volunteers on Saturdays.”

He says their pay isn’t as competitive as others on the Grand Island, but they’re hoping to find a construction manager who sees the heart of their mission, which is to place people into permanent homes. He also says that all recipients of a habitat home have one thing in common.

“We look at the need for affordable, decent housing,” Heagy said. “There is a section in the application where they can write an essay. They can tell us what their current housing situation is and why they would benefit from a residential home. To me that section is what should distinguish the applications.

He says Habitat Homes are awarded to applicants who have the greatest need for a better home.

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