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story.lead_photo.caption Katie Holroyd Habitat for Humanity of Benton County Community Engagement Coordinator

Tell us about your organization:

• Mission: Habitat for Humanity of Benton County Inc. is a nonprofit Christian housing organization whose goal is to eliminate poverty housing from within Benton County and to partner with the community to make decent shelter a matter of conscience as well as action.

• Services provided: Habitat for Humanity partners with families and individuals living in poverty to build affordable, energy-efficient housing. Habitat Homes are not free, but rather homeowners pay off their homes with affordable mortgages. Additionally, future homeowners must invest 400 hours of sweat equity with Habitat by the time of closing on the home. This investment of time and resources teaches financial responsibility and sets families up for success. We also provide ongoing support for Habitat homeowners to ensure the Habitat home is a long-term housing solution.

• Who is eligible? Our requirements are based on HUD income guidelines for the State of Arkansas' median income levels for Northwest Arkansas. Gross household income is based on all means of income generated by each adult in the household. For those interested in becoming a homeowner through Habitat for Humanity of Benton County, there are five key criteria applicants must meet initially. They must have a need for adequate housing, the ability to pay an affordable monthly mortgage, a willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity of Benton County Inc., must have lived or worked in Benton County for a minimum of one year and must meet the household income guideline requirements.

• How can services be accessed? Housing applications are currently closed, because we must build the homes on our waitlist before accepting additional applications. However, Habitat continues to engage the community and offer support as related needs arise. Those interested in the program can contact our office at (479) 335-5970 or visit our website at habitatbentoncountyar.org to fill out a housing inquiry form.

• What are your organization's most pressing needs? Currently, our greatest need is to raise the remaining $40,000 so we can begin construction on a home in partnership with a single mom and her two children. The build was supposed to start in March 2020 but was delayed due to covid-19. The family is so ready to move into their home and achieve stability and affordable home ownership. Now, the plan is to start construction in fall 2020. We have already raised $40,000 toward the build but need sponsorships and donations to raise the rest of the funds.

• Are there volunteer opportunities in your organization? What are they? Our organization relies greatly on volunteers! During a build, we use volunteers every day on-site to assist our construction manager. They can help with most aspects of the build. Also, our ReStore in Bentonville is open year-round, Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the team always needs volunteers who can help receive, organize and price inventory, assist customers and more. We can also have volunteers help in our administrative offices with operations and community engagement.

• What other ways may people help? People can also help spread the word about the housing crisis and the need for safe, decent and affordable housing. We always need supporters who can tell others about the Habitat mission and organize teams of family, friends, religious organizations and coworkers to help on-site and with fundraising.

• Why do you work for a nonprofit organization? Do you have a personal connection to the mission? If so, what is it? I am from Northwest Arkansas and have always wanted the opportunity to give back to the communities I grew up in. It is amazing to see people come together to help their neighbors and create lasting change. There is truly a spirit of hope and joy that comes from working side-by-side with homeowners and community supporters to give a hand up and make the dream of home ownership a reality.

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Habitat for Humanity of Benton County, Inc.

What: Habitat for Humanity of Benton County, Inc. is a nonprofit Christian housing organization whose goal is to eliminate poverty housing from within Benton County and to partner with the community to make decent shelter a matter of conscience as well as action.

Information: (479) 335-5970 or habitatbentoncountyar.org

— Carin [email protected]

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