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Family happy to have Habitat for Humanity home

October 23, 2000|By TARA REILLY

Family happy to have Habitat for Humanity home



Heather Snyder's new home is on Wellington Road in Halfway, across from piles of yellow-orange leaves that have fallen from a line of trees in front.

The empty four-bedroom house still smells of fresh paint and adhesive from newly laid carpeting. Grass grows in the back yard but hasn't sprouted out front, where straw protects the seeds from being eaten by birds.

Snyder says she's glad now that her four children, Ashley, 10, Alex, 4, Michael, 3, and Christopher, 1, will have their own bedrooms and a safe, quite place to play outside.

"They're excited," Snyder said. "It's really nice and quiet."

The small, yellow home with green shutters was built for Snyder and her family through donations and volunteers for Habitat for Humanity of Washington County. It was dedicated to the Snyder family Sunday afternoon.

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"Enjoy your home. Have fun," said Annie Lemarie, president of the local Habitat board, as she handed Snyder a Bible and keys to the home.

Snyder said she looks forward to having closet space and a bedroom door for Ashley's room, things missing from her West End apartment.

The home is also equipped with a laundry room, a washer and dryer.

"I think the kids are more excited than she is," Lemarie said. "They're just thrilled to death with having a yard and space."

About 250 volunteers began working on the home about five months ago, and many of the supplies were either donated or purchased at discount prices, Lemarie said.

Keystone Financial Bank, the main sponsor of the project, provided $20,000 at the time of groundbreaking and followed with $10,000 in matching funds for construction. Keystone also supplied volunteers for the project.

"The volunteers make this possible," Lemarie said. "We couldn't keep the houses affordable without them."

Snyder, who began volunteering with Habitat about three years ago, learned she was in line for a home about two years ago.

Lemarie said applicants for homes must meet certain requirements, including putting 500 hours of "sweat equity" into the home as a down payment and having sufficient income to make monthly mortgage payments.

Lemarie said Habitat sells the homes for the appraised value and acts as the mortgage company for recipients. Snyder will pay two mortgages on the home. The first, a 30-year no-interest mortgage, includes the cost of buying and preparing the land and building the home. The second allows Snyder to gain equity on the home.

Lemarie said Habitat has built nine homes in Hagerstown since 1994, and hopes to build three more next year.

Another house a few yards away from Snyder's home could be finished as early as next month. A third house is to be built on the same lot next year.

Habitat also hopes to begin building outside of Hagerstown.

"We're making a big push to move out into the county," Lemarie said. "We're looking for properties and focusing on Smithsburg and Boonsboro."

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