SAN ANTONIO - Did you know the first Habitat for Humanity house in the world was built on the west side of San Antonio?
The home sits on Hidalgo Street, constructed in 1976.
Since then, the non-profit started building all over the globe.
For the last 41 years, Habitat for Humanity of San Antonio has helped families in need buy an affordable home.
"We've been able to help more than 1000 families now. Now we're at 1,013," said Stephanie Wiese, Vice President of Habitat for Humanity of San Antonio.
The non-profit's 1000th home in San Antonio, built in March, sits in a neighborhood off South Acme Road just north of Highway 90.
"We're working with the service industry. We're working with folks that may be bank tellers, they may have laundry jobs at downtown hotels," said Wiese.
Families who qualify for Habitat for Humanity's Home Buying Program have an average income of $28,000 a year, and most of that paid the rent.
"They're not able to have that extra money to pay for that health insurance, pay for their school clothes or to even have that first vacation," said Wiese.
Administrators tell us families pay 0% interest on their home. While the house may appraise for $120,000, families will buy from Habitat for Humanity for $75,000.
Families also must take home ownership education classes.
"All of our homes are energy efficient, so we do a lot with radiant barriers, we have impact-resistant shingles," said Wiese. "We have a partnership with Malarkey that provides the shingle that's impact-resistant.So these homes are built to last."
Since the program began, the non-profit reports a less than 1.5% foreclosure rate in San Antonio.
"Their monthly mortgage payments are about $550 a month including their taxes and their insurance, so they're going to own these homes," said Wiese.
Residents in the program, like Melissa Valdez, tend to come from overcrowded homes.
"We were in a little two bedroom house and we didn't really have a lot of privacy," said Valdez. "We had to share the room with the girls sometimes."
Her four daughters now have their own rooms.
"Right before I joined the program, I had applied to an apartment complex and we gave the security deposit. We went to go look at the apartment and as soon as they opened the door, from the hinges on the door all these little roaches came out," said Valdez. "I'm like, 'No, I can't live like this'."
Valdez says her children can now play outside, too, in a neighborhood built by its residents.
Each homeowner needs at least 300 hours helping volunteers, subcontractors and construction staff shape these houses into a home.
"I've made a lot of friends. My neighbor and I are very close. We share meals all the time. Our kids play all the time," said Valdez. "I'm watering the grass. It's really a dream come true."
The first Habitat for Humanity family paid off their home in 2006.
For more information, visit www.habitatSA.org.
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