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Housing Hope helps local families build their own homes

 

January 17, 2018 | View PDF

Christopher Andersson

new home to Arlington homeowner Lacey Huge, right, along with her daughter Nola Huge on Jan. 12 as part of Housing Hope's Team HomeBuilding program.

Eight local families finished building their own homes this January as part of Housing Hope's Team HomeBuilding program.

The eight families moved into the Arlington homes on Jan. 12 after a ceremony where they received their keys.

The program allows individuals and families to build equity by building their houses themselves.

They still have to pay a mortgage to pay back the supplies, but the labor is provided by the families.

Many of the families have had trouble getting a house before the program.

"We shopped for houses for a couple of years before getting into this program and it's really difficult, especially for younger people like ourselves these days. It's nearly impossible to save up 20 percent for a down payment," said Brian Huge, one of the new Arlington homeowners from the program.

Alex Martynenko, another of the new Arlington homeowners, is originally from the country of Georgia and lived more than five years in Russia before coming to America in 1999.

"We always had a hope of buying a house," he said.

"In 2008 we tried to buy a house, but the United States had a critical situation with the mortgages," he said.

Unfortunately at the same time, Martynenko was diagnosed with nerve damage and arthritis and wasn't able to hold a job for seven years.

About two years ago though he learned about the Team HomeBuilding program through a friend and got a call back in a few months after applying.

Now he gets to move into his own house.

"For 19 years I lived in Seattle and never had a house, and finally we get a house," he said.

For many families, a house means a more stable lifestyle.

"You have a place to call home - for your kids and for your grandkids. And that stability lets you focus on a lot of other things in life when you don't have to worry about lease agreements and rent," said Bobby Thompson, director of housing development at Housing Hope.

"You created a generational gift for your family. You have equity that will help your family from this point forward," he said.

For many, a house will provide a stable environment to raise a family.

"It means a consistent, safe place for us to live. Moving from apartment to apartment, that's an unstable way to live. And there's four elementary schools in Arlington, and the one you live closest to, that's the one you go to," said Lacey Huge. "Nobody likes to do that, especially to their kids."

Martynenko said he had moved four times in 2017.

"I hope it's our last move. I want to stay here for the long term and I hope we can grow more as a family," he said. "More together, not as split up."

The families put in more than 14,000 hours of work and began construction last February.

"It was really incredible how much work we put in, and so many of the other families that went above and beyond," said Lacey Huge.

"It's stressful on the job site because most people don't have experience. Some had never had a hammer in their hand and you had to teach them," said Martynenko.

Finding time to relax was one of the hardest parts.

"A lot of time the only time I could come out here was on a Saturday, so after working all week I would bring myself out here and just have a Sunday off," said Brian Huge.

Finding 30 hours of childcare a week was also difficult for many.

Families said they appreciated the experience though.

"I'm proud of what we accomplished. We built this house, and we could never afford it otherwise," said Lacey Huge.

Many also wanted to thank Housing Hope and their staff for helping them.

"Housing Hope staff put up with so much and they just have to turn around and treat it like another workday," said Lacey Huge.

"It is a great program. They go out of their way to help people," said Brian Huge. "I hope people keep supporting this program so that it can help out other people, other communities."

"I want to give thanks for Housing Hope, they helped a lot," said Martynenko. "They truly give you hope."

More information about the Team HomeBuilding program is available at http://www.housinghope.org/team-homebuilding.

 

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