Applicants sought for 3rd Habitat home in Freeport

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FREEPORT — A house on West Street will be the next home in Freeport to be refurbished by Habitat for Humanity.
The house was donated by L.L. Bean and sits on a parcel of land given by the town of Freeport.
It will have three bedrooms and one bathroom.
Amy Dowler, associate executive director and director of family services at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland, said the project will begin with an information session for potential applicants.
“This is not an easy application process,” she said. “We’ve realize that a well-informed person makes a well-informed decision.”
Applicants must attend the Jan. 29 session, Dowler said. It will take place at 7 p.m. at the Freeport Community Center on Depot Street.
She said this will be the third Habitat house in Freeport. The other two are on Grant Street.
“We can’t do what we do without the support of the city or town,” Dowler said. “The ultimate goal is to strengthen the community.”
Dowler said the family selected must submit financial documents, participate in personal interviews and agree to work a minimum of 250 hours on their Habitat house and other homes.
“This follows the idea of pay it forward,” she said.
The family selection process is conducted by a committee of eight people with backgrounds in finance, mortgage lending and budgeting.
Applicants are also required to take courses for first-time home buyers, home maintenance and repair skills, and finance and budgeting. If they get in a financial pinch, Dowler said, they are able to use counseling resources for free.
As far as the houses go, Dowler said they are no-nonsense, simple homes with no frills.
She said some people see Habitat for Humanity as a charity organization, but said the people who qualify must work very hard.
“This is a hand up, not a hand out,” she said. “We don’t give houses away, we work with families to provide a fresh start.”
After the family selection committee picks a family, construction is expected to begin next spring. Dowler said a house can take from eight to 12 months to be completed.
For questions about the process or the application, contact Dowler at 772-2151 or e-mail homeownership@habitatme.org.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net.
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