07/20/10 — Habitat for Humanity looking for land for new houses

View Archive

Habitat for Humanity looking for land for new houses

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on July 20, 2010 1:46 PM

Habitat for Humanity of Goldsboro-Wayne is looking for "land heroes" to make eight deserving families' dreams of home ownership come true.

The non-profit organization can find the grant money, round up the volunteers and provide the leadership needed to build a house. What it cannot do -- without the help of local land owners -- is obtain property lots in the city to build those houses.

The group is seeking to buy or take possession of donated lots suitable for building homes in the Goldsboro city limits.

"The land values in the city tend to be higher than in the county, and we find it so challenging sometimes to be able to find land inside the city. We want to serve as many families inside Goldsboro as possible," Habitat director Dr. Ti'eshia Moore said.

Eight families are on the waiting list to begin working on their houses, and Habitat for Humanity is seeking eight to 10 lots for the future builds.

Most of the 34 Habitat homes in the city, and the six in the county, were built on property that was purchased using grant funding. The organization receives some Housing and Urban Development money from the city of Goldsboro, and also competes with other Habitat chapters for money from Habitat International.

When Habitat receives federal funding, the non-profit group often has to balance its needs with the caveats built into the funding. Most of the provisions about what land can be purchased are based on safety concerns for families with children. The houses must be built in a safe area, at least 1,000 feet from a highway, in neighborhoods away from train tracks. In Goldsboro, the organization must also avoid restrictions around the immediate Seymour Johnson Air Force Base area.

"Other than that, we kind of just look for what would be safe for a family of senior citizens, what would be safe for a family with kids," Mrs. Moore said.

The group can choose between different styles of floor plans to fit most lots, but the size preferred for each lot is about 100 feet by 200 feet. Selecting a particular style or a particular lot is also done out of consideration for existing neighborhoods where Habitat homes will be built.

"Oftentimes we just look for areas that have similar types of homes. We don't want infringe on a neighborhood," Mrs. Moore said.

While most land is purchased, some property comes from donors. Sometimes property is donated by people who no longer live in Goldsboro but still own land in the city, and other times people who own a double lot but only use half of it allow the non-profit to build on the unused portion. The City of Goldsboro has also worked with the organization to provide land, Mrs. Moore said.

The group gives tax credits for donated land, and can also give a partial tax credit for landowners willing to sell property for slightly less than its value.

For more information, contact Habitat for Humanity of Goldsboro-Wayne at 736-9592.