Archive for Sunday, January 7, 2007

Coming home to Comfort

Habitat for Humanity helps second family move into neighborhood

January 7, 2007


Sally Dillon never imagined she would be able to paint the walls of her home and make other changes without first calling a landlord.

But her dreams became reality Saturday, as dozens of well-wishers packed the inside of her new home for a dedication celebration.

"It's gratifying to see a family take ownership of their home," said Jeff Alderman, Lawrence Habitat for Humanity president.

The event marked the completion of the organization's second home in the Comfort Neighborhood, near the 800 block of Walnut Street, named after longtime volunteer and former Habitat president Clay Comfort.

"Everybody has been so wonderful, and it's such a great opportunity for me and my family," said Dillon, holding back tears. "I couldn't express my gratitude enough."

Her daughters, Dacey and Madison, latched onto her side; all three had glowing smiles.

"My kids are so happy," said Dillon, 30. "They're excited, can't wait to move."

Dillon, her husband, Matt, and their two children will move into the home in about three weeks, once the carpet is installed. Matt Dillon, 34, wasn't at the dedication because of an illness.

After the celebration, 3-year-old Madison ran into her new bedroom and peered out the window.

Sally Dillon holds her daughters, Dacey, 5, left, and Madison, 3, before the dedication of their Habitat home in the Comfort Neighborhood. Sally's husband, Matt Dillon, was sick and unable to attend the dedication Saturday.

Sally Dillon holds her daughters, Dacey, 5, left, and Madison, 3, before the dedication of their Habitat home in the Comfort Neighborhood. Sally's husband, Matt Dillon, was sick and unable to attend the dedication Saturday.

"I love my room!" she giggled.

"I think my kids will be safe and happy and healthy, and that's all anyone can really ever ask for," Sally Dillon said.

Habitat assists families who struggle with buying a home.

The Dillons will pay about $75,000 for their three-bedroom home, 155 N. Comfort Court, said Jean Lilley, Habitat executive director.

The market value of the home is $120,000.

"By no means are we giving homes to families," said Alderman. "We're transferring families from inadequate housing to home ownership, at about the same payment that they had."

Each family is required to put about 450 hours of work into constructing Habitat homes, including their own. In exchange, they receive an interest-free mortgage on their home and pay only for the supplies that go into building it.

Habitat depends on the families and community volunteers to help build the homes.

The Comfort Neighborhood is unique because 16 Habitat homes are being built next to one another, allowing neighbors to mutually help with construction.

"I don't think that there will be a better neighborhood in town," said Toni Husted, a soon-to-be Habitat homeowner. "We're kind of like family; we grow together."

Learn more

An informational meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt., for anyone interested in owning a Habitat for Humanity home in the Comfort Neighborhood.

Applicants must currently live in inadequate housing, have a stable income and be willing to help with the building process.

For more information, call Habitat at 832-0777.


Kat Christian 11 years, 5 months ago

Well I must be too old to qualify for a HH home because I applied 2 years ago. I was working and making your average Lawrence wages, but was turned down because I was told I didn't make enough money. Now mind you I had been living in the same place for several years, never late on my rent, took very good care of the place. I was told that my mortage would be less then was I was paying for rent, yet I was disqualified because I was not making enough money. I was so mad I tore up the letter and pitched - now I wish I had saved it for proof because people don't believe me when I tell them this. I have one child. So I'll never apply again - why get shot down twice? Good luck to the rest.

lawrencelady 11 years, 5 months ago

I'm happy for Sally Dillon. Good job, Habitat for Humanity.

Godot 11 years, 5 months ago

With a sale price of $75,000, and a market value of $130,000, this family has an instant equity of $55,000.

Do the owners have all the rights of any other mortgagee; that is, to take out an equity loan, or to sell for full market price?

I checked out the Habitat for Humanity website for an answer to this question, but could not find it.

Godot 11 years, 5 months ago

Will the property taxes be based on the discounted sales price charged by Habitat, or on the market value?

cutny 11 years, 5 months ago

No, they cannot flip the house for the market rate. Prospective owners are extensively screened. This is not a get rich quick scheme.

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