A local family has a new home after a community group opened another door.
The Roswell affiliate of the international nonprofit Habitat for Humanity dedicated an East Beech Street house Thursday night, the 19th built by HFH of Roswell Inc. since it started in 1995.
Daniel Orosco, a single dad to a son and three daughters who works for a local retail store, has helped to build the four-bedroom house, which he is purchasing from the group.
“We just thank God. It is a miracle,” Orosco said after the dedication ceremony, where the family received quilts, gardening supplies, a gift card, a Bible and the keys, of course. “It is just such a blessing.”
Orosco gave personal recognition to his mom, volunteers, friends, community groups and the bank financing the project.
The house costs about $71,000 to build, according to Habitat’s building chairman Mike Puckett, but he said that Orosco is paying less than that.
The cost to the family was reduced by donations from local businesses and individuals received specifically for this project, as well as the donation long ago of the land and several nearby parcels.
“We call it not a handout but a hand-up,” said Puckett. “We do not give the houses to people. We select a partner family, and then they work on it all through the construction of the house. Then we get a mortgage and then we sell it to them for what it costs us to build.”
He said that typically 30 to 40 families apply for a house and that the selection process is intensive, screening people not only on the basis of need but on the ability to repay the mortgage. Screening also takes into account the suitability of the family for the work and the organization.
Site work has begun for the next Habitat home on Beech Street, which will be occupied by a mom and her daughters.
Habitat only has two Beech Street lots left, but the city of Roswell has talked about donating land to the group at some point, Puckett said.
City of Roswell Community Development Manager Bill Morris said he did not want to discuss specifics at this time.
“The city is looking at a variety of possible means of supporting affordable housing provision, including developing new subdivisions for affordable units,” he said. “These strategies are being reviewed for consistency with the city’s Affordable Housing Ordinance.”
Puckett, for one, sees a definite need for alternatives such as Habitat homes. He said the number of homeless in the city, counted at 182 by a 2017 Point-in-Time Survey, which provides a snapshot on one given night, is only part of the issue regarding affordable housing.
“There are lots and lots and lots of families who are spending half or more of their monthly income on poor-quality rental housing,” he said. “Some of the things that have happened like the oil bloom and the number of people employed by FLETC (the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia) have really squeezed the low- to middle-income people in the housing market and that has been going on for several years now.”
He added that he expects the group will make its next family selection later in 2019.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.