Habitat for Humanity of Kosciusko County is pleased to announce the collaboration of Mutual Bank, Kosciusko County Community Foundation and K21 Health Foundation has helped Habitat secure the property at 805 E. Market St., Warsaw, for the build of the future.
The property was identified by the Kosciusko Leadership Academy 2013 Northenor Award winning project team of Christon Clark, Kristine Hueber-Kinney, Huntter Randall and Rebecca Spitler in their project, “Rethinking Neighborhood within the Community.”
It was the suggestion of Dr. John Boal, former Winona Lake Town Council president, to engage the Kosciusko County Community Foundation and K21 Health Foundation collaboratively for the purchase of the property. Mutual Bank owned the property and reduced the purchase price by taking a sizable donation.
The former New Moves Physical Therapy building will be torn down over the winter to make way for construction of multiple dwellings in the spring and summer of 2014. Historically this parcel of just over an acre was zoned and divided into six residential lots. Habitat is currently engaging local focus groups to help determine what exactly will be built on the site.
This year’s Women Build project offers a glimpse at how Habitat is attempting to enhance the lives of its Partner Families and the surrounding block by building homes that are not only simple, decent and affordable, but desirable, accessible and sustainable as well. “At the heart of the KLA project was a mixed income mini development, this is a model Habitat is committed to on this site with the goal to create a stronger sense of community not only for our Partner Families but for the surrounding residents and the city of Warsaw as well,” says Christon Clark, executive director of Habitat.
Kosciusko County Community Foundation approved $21,500 worth of grants in July to be used toward the purchase of the property. “The Community Foundation is excited to help Habitat provide affordable housing in such an innovative and collaborative manner,” said Suzie Light, executive director of the Kosciusko County Community Foundation.
“K21 was excited to become a part of this project because of the overwhelming statistics that show homeownership benefitting long-term health and wellness over those who rent, particularly when we learned that all of the Habitat homes built in Kosciusko County are still owned by the original families,” said K21 President & CEO Rich Haddad. Habitat provided detailed findings on how homeownership leads to better health outcomes for families in its $38,500 grant application with K21 Health Foundation.
The closing of this property brings to an end more than nine months of negotiations between Habitat and Mutual Bank. “We were lucky that the property owner has a long history of working with Habitat affiliates and was excited by the opportunity put before them. The reduced purchase price will allow Habitat to keep the resulting homes affordable for lower income families. Jim Ryan was instrumental in making this deal happen!” according to Clark.
“As a Warsaw community bank, Mutual Bank is thrilled to have played an integral role in this important Habitat project,” said Jim Ryan, vice president, Business Banking officer Mutual Bank.
As Habitat moves forward with this project the goal remains collaboration. Currently, neighborhood and house sponsors are being sought that will work together to bring the vision of the KLA project and the focus groups to reality.
Habitat accepts applications on a rolling basis with three main criteria: (1) Families must have a need; (2) Families must have the ability to repay (Habitat can only approve families between 30 percent and 60 percent of area median income); and (3) Families must be willing to Partner with Habitat, 250 hours of sweat equity per able bodied adult in addition to financial literacy and homeownership education. Due to the size and scope of this project Habitat is suspending the Critical Home Repair program. For information on Habitat criteria and the pre-qualification process please visit kosciuskohabitat.com/homeownership.