‘Forgivable’ Loan To Be Used For Affordable Housing
By JESSICA WETZLER
Daily News- Record 2/6/19
HARRISONBURG — The Central Valley Habitat of Humanity was awarded a $ 500,000 “forgivable” loan Friday to be used for providing affordable housing to low- income individuals.
David Wenger, executive director of the nonprofit, said the organization applied for the loan in October to help pay for upcoming projects.
“It gives families hope to get off the island of isolation,” Wenger said in regard to providing affordable housing. “Through this loan, we will be able to build the next four to five homes that we have identified in our application.”
The loan, provided by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development through the Affordable and Special Needs Housing program, was awarded through a competitive process. The program received 17 applications that were reviewed, evaluated, and scored on how they met the goals of creating affordable new construction or rehabilitated housing, or established other permanent supportive housing options for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“In the application, you have to identify a mission, properties available to build on, a budget, and identify families that have been approved to live in the homes,” Wenger said. Central Valley Habitat of Humanity’s award, announced Friday by Gov. Ralph Northam, was one of 14 projects statewide that received a total of more than $8.9 million in loans for the fall 2018 affordable and special needs housing program.
Central Valley’s loan will go toward the nonprofit’s budget of $832,000 for this year. Although a large portion of the budget has been secured because of the loan, Wenger said the work never stops and fundraising for the nonprofit is a never-ending process.
The loan is a forgivable, meaning that as long it is used for the intended purpose of providing homes to low-income families, the nonprofit will not have to repay it, he said.
The loan will be divided into portions, with 60 percent of the funds to go toward upcoming builds that are still in the planning stage. A decision on how the remaining dollars are spent will be developed by community teams that provide sponsorship funding or volunteer labor for new home construction.
“At this time, we have five homes that could be completed by the end of the year,” Wenger said. “We have identified another four to five homes that would benefit from the loan.” In March, two homes off Roberts Court on the north side of Harrisonburg will be dedicated to the nonprofit and provide two families with a place to live. On Tuesday, concrete for the driveway was being laid and finishing touches were being made. “It’s always nice to be recognized,” Wenger said. “We provide hope to families, but serve the community as a whole. It creates a ripple effect and a place for everyone.”
Habitat for Humanity, an international program that began in Georgia in 1976, came to the Harrisonburg-Rockingham County area
in 1988 for the purpose of providing a home for everyone, regardless of race, religion, age, gender, or political view.
Since its beginning 30 years ago, the local organization has provided 61 homes to low-income families who are willing to work during the time they are living in the home.