Three homes planned for completion in December pushed back to 2014, new site underway

The recent cold weather hasn’t only affected construction on the Newberg Cultural District or caused homeowners to face bursting pipes, it’s delayed the completion of three Habitat for Humanity homes as GARY ALLEN - Cold weather has pushed back the completion dates of three Habitat for Humanity homes on East Ninth Street, but Lisa Thompson, Habitat spokeswoman, said they hope to open one each month starting in January.

“Originally we hoped to be done by the end of the year, but because of the weather we had to push it back,” said Lisa Thomas, Newberg Habitat spokeswoman. “The houses are almost done, but not done yet.”

There are currently three homes under construction at 1309, 1311 and 1313 E. Ninth St.

“We aren’t sure of the order of completion,” Thomas said. “1311 is almost done; the (other two) are still in progress.”

Despite the weather, the program continues on with a fourth site underway at East Eighth and South Blaine streets. Demolition will begin soon.

“On Dec. 5 we opened up ownership applications and had a meeting for that,” she said.

The first step in registration is ensuring a connection to the area, meaning applicants need to live, attend church, have a student in school or work in the greater Newberg area.

“The other thing is they need to have a need for housing and the ability to pay,” she said. “They have to have enough to pay payments, but not (make) too much.”

For a family of four, this means making at least $17,350 a year, but no more than $41,640.

“They also have to have a willingness to participate with us, (which means) 500 sweat equity hours for the down payment,” Thomas said. “The idea is to have the family selected (before construction) so they can help build on their home. The goal is 500 hours at the time their home is done and one family has done that so far (for the East Ninth Street homes).”by: GARY ALLEN - Volunteers working at 1309 E. Ninth St. install the hardwood floors in the entryway. This home   is expected to be  completed in February or March.

She said with applications open for the new East Eighth Street home, the process for approval is fairly lengthy. After an initial screening, background checks occur, then there is a home visit, among other forms of checks. And once approved, the family might not receive the home.

“It’s based on need. A family could qualify, but if another family has higher need they would get the home,” Thomas said. “But families who qualify are always welcome to reapply in future rounds.”

Newberg Habitat has completed 17 homes since 1995, funding the projects primarily through donations and profits from their ReStore. Thomas said the organization was considering expanding the store’s hours, currently open Fridays and Saturdays, but decided against it after crunching the numbers.

“For the number of hours we’re open the money earned is greater per day than say McMinnville (which is open five days a week),” she said. “So we don’t think opening more days would increase profit.”

As for the homes currently under construction, Thomas said they hope to complete one in January, one in February and the last one in March. There will be dedication ceremonies for each home closer to completion.

For more information or to get involved in Habitat for Humanity, call 503-537-9938.

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