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Article Archive >> Community

Building Homes, Rebuilding Lives! They Need a Place to Live

Building Homes, Rebuilding Lives!
They Need a Place to Live

A recent task force created by the Washington County Commissioners to study work force housing discovered many families don't have enough income to buy a house.
According to the report, "a Washington County family of four has a median income of $56,250. With the median home price of $240,000 in Washington County, many families can't afford homes. To afford the 240,000 median-priced home, a family would have to earn $76,190 annually."
The increase in the cost of homes is outpacing the increases in local salaries, making affordable homes difficult to find, according to the task force. The locations of jobs and affordable housing often tend not to be in great proximity to each other. We see this as commuters with higher paying jobs in the Baltimore and Washington corridor are purchasing more home in Washington County for less money. The affordable housing issue is beginning to affect more families as the county's population growth increases.
The report states that the 2004 median-priced home sold for $176,000, or $64,000 lower than the median sale price in 2005. The median income for a family of four was $55,000, only $1,250 less than 2005, according to the report.
It further stated that housing prices have been increasing by 13 percent per year over the last five-year period, while incomes grew at only 3 percent. This created a wide affordability gap.
The report indicated there is an affordable housing crisis in the county, and that it should have programs in place to help. This crisis is now attacking those families that seemed to be above this issue a couple of years ago.
Habitat for Humanity of Washington County has been aware of many families not being able to find affordable housing for some years before this current crisis. These new challenges have not changed Habitat for Humanity's belief that everyone deserves a simple, decent, affordable place to live. This has been behind the drive and dedication of hundreds of volunteers. These are volunteers that have donated funds, land and material, as well as those that have given so freely of their time and talents to build new homes for low-income families.
Habitat for Humanity of Washington County touches lives! It helps families to achieve the dream of owning a home. Habitat empowers low-income families by partnering with them to build decent, affordable housing. It provides a program where families seeking to own a home can work alongside volunteers to build that home. Then they are allowed to purchase it at no profit and with zero interest loans, making payments they can afford. The majority of family members whose lives improve through Habitat's housing are children. For them, a decent place to live makes all the difference in the world.
The homes are built with donated materials or with materials purchased with donated funds. Funding is essential! It is all through donations of a caring public. Homes require sponsors! It takes money to buy land...to construct houses! Individuals, companies or organizations may sponsor a home. Or they may be willing to donate land or materials! Or perhaps make a cash donation! For more information on any of these items, or it you want to experience the thrill of becoming a volunteer, please call Sherry Brown Cooper, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Washington County at 301-791-9009.

William L. Bulla is a freelance writer residing in Washington County.

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