Local News

June 2, 2014

Habitat for Humanity director explains selection process

OSKALOOSA — The Mahaska County Habitat for Humanity is one of many groups that has been there to help aid families that qualify for affordable housing.

Valinn McReynolds, executive director for Mahaska County’s Habitat for Humanity, said the purpose is to give people an opportunity to own their own home without being financially strapped. Usually when someone is selected for the home, there is a process, which includes a formal application.

“The form is an agreement letter that indicates they want to be a partner family. The letter also makes sure the family knows that a location for the house has not been selected and the plans have not been officially developed,” McReynolds said.

From beginning to end, the application process takes two months.

“We want to give people enough time to care about it and get the materials for the application. So, when that process closes, and we have all the applicants, it takes time for us to do the entire process. That includes a credit check, background check, the family commission committee needs to meet, review applications and visit the home,” she said.

Home visits are scheduled for a reason and are usually done by affiliate representatives, or two people that are trusted within the organization. Typically, these two representatives will weigh the reasons why that family is more qualified, or less qualified to receive a new home.

“We go to the home of the family and we assess the living situation. If we have two applicants and they are both very well qualified, and they meet all the requirements, we pick the family on the greatest demonstrated need,” McReynolds said. She added applicants that qualify generally don’t own their own homes. They live in rental properties. Even though they live in apartments, she implied that representatives will still come out to the residents’ location to assess their situation.

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