“Our philosophy is ‘a hand up, not a handout. Habitat offers a true partnership arrangement by which families with limited incomes can attain their goal of home ownership.”
Donations from private individuals, companies, churches, foundations, and civic groups are pooled and used to construct solid, insulated, energy-efficient homes that are sold for the cost of construction. Donated land and volunteer labor help keep the house cost down. Arkansas Valley Habitat's basic cost for a four bedroom, one and one half bath house is approximately $50,000. A small down payment is charged, and monthly house payments are based on a 20 year, interest free mortgage and include taxes and insurance. Mortgage payments go back into Habitat’s construction budget to build more homes for more qualified families. This recycling of funds is what attracts many people to give to Habitat for Humanity.
Quality affordable housing for families stablilizes and invigorates neighborhoods and contributes tremendously to the health and vigor of our economy. Neighborhoods that have higher ownership rates are statistically safer, more stable, with higher property values and less crime.
Qualifying for the Habitat program is easier than many people think. Applicants must demonstrate a need for the Habitat program, have a stable annual household income, and be the head(s) of household. Approved applicants are required to contribute 300-400 volunteer hours (sweat equity) working with Habitat prior to purchasing their Habitat home, and must be willing to live where Habitat is building homes. Credit is reviewed and does not have to be perfect, but does matter. Habitat also looks for at least one year of stable rent and utility payment history, and at least one year of stable work history.
Arkansas Valley Habitat has constructed 91 homes since 1989 in Crawford and Sebastian Counties. As of January 2014, AVHFH continues work on one home build for our selected family, the Helms, and is also into the construction phase on a second home for a "to-be-determined" family.
Habitat accepts no government funding for construction, and some of its administrative costs are funded by earned income from our ReStore.
The Habitat ReStore is starting 2014 with a brand new look at a brand new location! The Fort Smith ReStore is now located at 421 Towson, at the corner of Towson and South D Street. It is a retail store open to the public that specializes in new, used, and one-of-a-kind furniture, appliances and building materials. Call 479-783-2766 to talk to our friendly ReStore staff.
If you would like more information about Habitat’s home ownership program or to find out more about how you can get involved, call the Habitat office at (479) 782-8255, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. We hope to hear from you soon!