Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity: A fresh start for four families

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COLORADO SPRINGS — Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity is giving families a hand up.

Two new duplexes were dedicated to four single-mother families in Colorado Springs Wednesday.

“I would have never been able to own a home on my own being a single parent with just one income and this has been my dream ever since I had kids. Now I’m 49, my youngest is 16, but I never would have been able to accomplish this without Habitat and the help of the city of Colorado Springs,” said Gayle Thomason, who will be living in her new home with two of her children.

The city awarded a $400,000 grant to the nonprofit to build these homes.

“Jeez, it means that don’t have to live paycheck-to-paycheck so much anymore and that my kids can be in a safe neighborhood. They have a park nearby and they can actually play in the street,” said Jennifer Gibson, another homeowner recipient.

PPHFH says these homes will enable families to live a more stable life.

“Rent was very expensive, and also we were in a three-bedroom house, so it was pretty cramped and smushed,” Gibson said.

“I was on Section 8, still paying 50-percent of my income, just towards rent alone. This is going to help out a lot to where, I still am going to live paycheck by paycheck, but I’ll at least have money for food to put in the refrigerator now instead of having to use one of my whole paychecks just for rent and the other one for bills,” Thomason said.

According to PPHFH, one in seven Colorado families is cost burden, with most putting more than 50-percent of their income toward housing.

But mortgage payments for these homes will be capped at 28-percent.

“some of these families have medical expenses that are lifelong and meeting those medical expenses can be quite challenging. Now. they can be proactive on medical, they can go out and buy much healthier food, which enhances their health, and the kids won’t be moving from school to school as they chase more affordable rent,” said Kris Medina, executive director/CEO for PPHFH.

In order to be considered for these homes, three requirements had to be met:

  1. Need: A need for affordable housing, including but not limited to unsafe, overcrowded and unhealthy conditions or unaffordable payments.
  2. Partner with PPHFH: Complete 200 hours of “sweat equity” and attend at least 10 homebuyer classes.
  3. Ability to make monthly mortgage payments: mortgage payments capped at 28-percent of their income.

“What happens with their mortgage is we turn around and the principal payments they pay us, we use that to build more affordable housing and serve the community on a broader basis,” Medina said.

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