Habitat for Humanity homeowner is first to pay off mortgage

Andrea Johnson/MDN Pamela Lorenz, Minot, recently paid off the 20-year mortgage on her Habitat for Humanity house. She is the first to pay off her mortgage.

Pamela Lorenz is obviously proud of every square inch of her southeast Minot home, from the garage she built, to the porch that is always nicely decorated for the holidays to her kitchen with its long counter.

She also now owns the home built by her and volunteers through Habitat for Humanity free and clear. She paid off the 20-year mortgage on the house in August, a few months early.

“(Habitat for Humanity) is a godsend,” said Lorenz, who became a homeowner nearly 20 years ago. “I would not have my home without them.”

Hundreds of volunteers help to build a Habitat for Humanity home, which helps people with modest incomes become first time homeowners. The homes are sold at no profit and with no interest charged, according to information on the organization’s website. Roxy Volk, executive director of Northern Lights Chapter of Habitat for Humanity in Minot, said the volunteer help enables the organization to keep the cost of the homes reasonable.

People selected to become homeowners must also invest “sweat equity” by helping to build the house. Many homeowners also enlist the help of friends and family along with other volunteers.

Lorenz said the only thing she did not do was get on the roof and shingle, though she did most everything else.

Kyra Hansen, who is eagerly awaiting the day when she and her three children can move into the newest Habitat for Humanity home under construction, said there are other requirements for applicants. She submitted an application to become the newest Habitat for Humanity client. She was required to take classes on money management and one geared toward first time home buyers as well as to put in the required hours helping to build her house. Before she was chosen, a board looked at her credit score, current financial situation and other important factors that will make her a successful home owner.

‘It’s going to make a huge difference,” said Hansen. “I don’t think I’d ever be able to become a homeowner without it.”

Some 12 Habitat for Humanity homes have been built in Minot since the local affiliate of the national nonprofit organization began. Some of those who became homeowners for Habitat for Humanity moved away and a couple of the Habitat for Humanity homes were flooded. Volk said the organization hopes to enter into an arrangement with another qualified family that would move into one of the Habitat for Humanity homes that was vacated when a family moved away.

Lorenz is the first Habitat for Humanity homeowner to pay off her mortgage and own the home.

Her mortgage payments and others have gone into a revolving fund that is used to build more houses, according to the Habitat for Humanity website.

More information about the organization can be found at www.habitat.org


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