Huntington Woman Handed Keys to New Habitat for Humanity Home

By Megan Trent

August 22, 2010 Updated Aug 22, 2010 at 7:25 PM EDT

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Officials from Huntington County's Habitat for Humanity dedicated their 23rd home Sunday afternoon. As Becky Arnett walked into her new three bedroom home on Iowa Street in Huntington, she described the experience as a new beginning for her and her family.

"We're so excited. It's been about a year and a half wait. So, we are just thrilled to death that we have come to this, and we finally got the house finished and we're ready to start a new life," Arnett said.

It was a warm welcome as family, friends, volunteers, Huntington city officials, and members of the Habitat for Humanity organization showed up to celebrate with the new home owner.

"It's just amazing, because I still remember the first day when we found out that this was going to be the property," Arnett said. "Walking around and seeing what the property was and breaking ground... all these memories come flooding back, and it really is a house."

Arnett and more than 90 volunteers invested more than 1,000 hours building the new home from the ground up. Arnett personally dedicated more than 250 hours to the project.

Habitat for Humanity homes are made with the latest "green" technology, which helps out the environment and saves residents money on their utility bills. Residents are also able to give input on flooring, siding, and floor plans.

Jean Wright is the Executive Director for Huntington County's Habitat for Humanity. "It's kind of a long process. There are budgeting classes and finance classes. We look for a good credit score or an opportunity to clear up debt so the home owners can start out virtually debt free. But in the end they are a home owner and that's everyone's American dream."

The new residents repay Habitat for Humanity for their no-profit, no-interest mortgage loans, but officials with the organization say owners still end up paying about 20% less than they would with a traditional loan. A percentage of that money also helps fund construction on other Habitat homes.

"It's not free, and it's not a hand out, but it is an opportunity for people to own their own home and actually pay less than what they would in rent and have a brand new home," said Wright.

Construction on Huntington County's 24th Habitat for Humanity home will begin this fall.

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