Habitat to reach out to churches for help


By Patsy Nicosia

Hoping there's still a place for Habitat for Humanity in Schoharie County, supporters will be reaching out to local churches in hopes of two things:
--Finding people willing to serve on a short-term ad hoc board to help determine whether to keep Habitat here.
--Finding people who'd be interested in a Habitat home-with all of its requirements-if that board agrees Habitat is still viable.
A half-dozen people showed up for a second meeting on Habitat's future Monday in Schoharie.
Most of them had also attended one in December, where John Rose, the last remaining board member, discussed what Habitat is up against.
Habitat is intended for families that don't qualify for a conventional mortgage who are living in substandard housing, Mr. Rose said then and again Monday.
The homes, however, aren't free.
In exchange for 400 hours of sweat equity, Habitat families must be able to pay a no-interest mortgage and taxes.
Property and school taxes, however, have pushed those costs to typically, at least $875 a month.
And with virtually no jobs locally, Mr. Rose said, the families who need the homes can't afford them.
Finding volunteers to help build the homes and even donations to help cover some of the cost isn't hard, he said, but there needs to be a board of at least six to eight people to manage and run the organization.
"It's a lot more work than building homes," Mr. Rose said.
At December's meeting, there was talk of disbanding Habitat and redistributing its assets.
But even after a month to consider that step, those at Monday's meeting weren't quite yet ready to take it.
Instead, they agreed to contact local churches, asking them to run something from a letter Mr. Rose will write about the need for both board members and families in their bulletins.
Ideally, Mr. Rose said, they'll come up with enough people interested in serving on a short-term ad hoc board that would take one more look at whether Habitat is viable.
If the board decides there is and comes up with ways to move the organization forward, it could then consider the list of potential families before making a final decision.
Anyone interested in serving on the ad hoc board or looking for more information on Habitat can contact Mr. Rose at 234-4016.