By MIKE COOK
Las Cruces Bulletin
Five Las Cruces families that will soon become first-time homeowners thanks to Mesilla Valley Habitat for Humanity (MVHH) got to visit their homes on Saturday, Feb. 25, as construction nears completion on the five houses on Wendall Road on the East Mesa.
The families have hundreds of hours of sweat equity invested in the homes, which is part of their down payments, said MVHH Executive Director Maria Vasquez.
Getting a new home through MVHH is “awesome, amazing,” said Victor Ojeda.
“There’s no words; we’re just so grateful,” said his wife, Delilah. The couple were visiting the home with children Chris, Ellahdy and Eli.
Most of the construction is done by Habitat for Humanity volunteers from across the United States.
“MVHH depends highly on the volunteer work of many local and national volunteers, like Habitat For Humanity Care-A-Vanners, to carry out its mission,” Vasquez said. “The amount of hours, hard work and love make these more than houses – it makes them homes.”
Volunteers Jon and Greta Boyer of Mammoth Lake, California, were making their second recent trip to Las Cruces to work on the houses. The couple have been married for 44 years and are in their third year as Habitat for Humanity volunteers.
Construction was begun on the five homes in October and should be completed in March, Vasquez said. Volunteers put in about 5,000 hours to construct each house, she said.
When the five houses are complete, MVHH will have built 110 homes over the past 29 years.
During the 28 years it has been active in Las Cruces, MVHH has constructed 101 homes, and five more are already in the planning stages for next year, she said. Every family that has received a home through MVHH still owns it, and all four of this year’s soon-to-be homeowners are single mothers.
Qualifying homeowners are selected based on economic need, ability to pay their share of the costs and willingness to help with the construction, Vasquez said.
Each participating family makes a $500 down payment on the house and pays $500 a month on a long-term, low-interest mortgage. To qualify, families have to have a steady source of income, which could include a job, Social Security payments – “anything that’s going to be steady,” she said.
Most MVHH homes are 1,200 square feet and have three bedrooms, although MVHH has built some four- and five-bedroom homes for larger families, Vasquez said.
MVHH is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It also has individual and corporate sponsors.
You can visit the MVHH ReStore at 2301 S. Main St. The ReStore “is a building and personal materials reuse and surplus center open to the public,” according to a ReStore brochure. It welcomes donations of new and used items, and you can also make a cash donation to MVHH. The store is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
For more information, contact Vasquez at 575-525-0475 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.lascruceshabitat.org.
Mike Cook can be reached at email@example.com.