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Milford Beacon
  • Locals celebrate Homeownership Month with new builds

  • In celebration of June as Homeownership Month, dozens of people from the Milford area recently gathered at two housing foundations in Lincoln to help two single mothers start their journey to becoming home owners.
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  • In celebration of June as Homeownership Month, dozens of people from the Milford area recently gathered at two housing foundations in Lincoln to help two single mothers start their journey to becoming home owners.
    One of the foundations will soon be a new home for Michelle Mosley, who currently rents in Lincoln and takes care of her three children, the opportunity and learning experience provided through the Milford Housing Development Corporation is priceless.
    Mosley, who is a youth rehabilitation coordinator at Stevenson House Detention Center, said without the programs through MHDC, she would have eventually owned her own home, but wanted the hands-on experience that comes with working to build her own house from its foundation to the final touches.
    “It gives you a lot of experience and you have to be dedicated,” she said. “But it also gives you a sense of pride.”
    Mosley’s home, which is expected to be complete in March 2015, is a 1,400-square-foot, two-story house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
    She said that seeing the progress, from bricks to painting the interior, is an experience she wouldn’t trade, and hopes it will show her three children that home ownership is not out of reach.
    “I can show my kids they can do it the same way, too,” she said.
    MHDC’s Self-Help Housing Program offers more than just the tools and opportunity to build a new home, said MHDC President David Moore. The program includes financial counseling and home ownership education so that when the families are ready to move in, they know how to handle a mortgage and all of the pitfalls that come with owning a new home.
    “We treat it as an education and that makes a better homeowner all around,” Moore said. “It’s not for everybody, but it’s certainly nice to get a quality-built house.”
    Since 1998, more than 170 families in Delaware become homeowners with the help of the program, which is funded through donations and sponsorships as well as funding provided by the Delaware State Housing Authority, USDA Rural Development and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh.
    “Instead of a hand out, it’s a hand up,” said Rep. Harvey Kenton (R-Milford) during the June 11 Homeownership Month Celebration in Lincoln.
    MHDC Housing Services Manager Ashley Hoban said qualifying low-income families who are working toward owning a home through the Self-Help Housing Program attend 15 hours of financial fitness classes, work on housing projects for other participants and contribute 21 hours a week for about a year that equals $30,000 to $40,000 in sweat equity. Once the home is built, the new homeowners still have a mortgage to pay, but with the financial guidance and USDA loan provided through MHDC, the new homeowners are prepared to take care of the dream house they helped build.
    Page 2 of 2 - “It’s essentially like working two full-time jobs,” she said.
    Participants work from start to finish on their new home, which they get to customize, selecting the location, floor plan, house type and interior components, Hoban said.
    “Not only are they fulfilling their dream of home ownership, they’re fulfilling the dream of owning the home they want,” she said. “These families are our heroes. We admire them for what they’re doing.”
    Currently, there are about 23 homes throughout Kent and Sussex counties under construction through the Self-Help Housing Program, including locations in Lincoln, Lewes, Dagsboro and Georgetown, Hoban said, and the organization also works on home repair and preservation projects throughout the state.
    For more information about MHDC, visit milfordhousing.com.
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