Nancy and Perry Sinnett moved into their new home in Prairie City in 1997. It was the first home completed through the Habitat for Humanity of McDonough County chapter.
"I don't think that opportunity (of home ownership) would have been there if it had not been for Habitat," said Perry Sinnett.
Now the family has paid off its mortgage – six years early.
Keith Branham, Executive Director of the Habitat chapter, said, “I think that’s a fabulous success story for Habitat and for you. This is what we’re about – helping people who can help themselves. The model is not a handout but a hand-up.”
Branham said the Habitat chapter typically does 30-year mortgages with zero interest payments. The Sinnetts paid it off in 24 years.
The couple emphasized that their home was not free. The Sinnetts and their friends helped with construction of the home, something that’s required by Habitat.
Nancy Sinnett said, “People don’t know that you do put in 500 hours of sweat. That includes your friends and other people. That’s not easy to get done when you’re working (a job too).”
Once the Sinnetts moved in, they had to cover property tax and insurance payments in addition to paying the mortgage. They also paid for maintenance and for a few renovations, such as a ramp for their daughter, Holly, who was born with several health problems.
What’s Next for Habitat?
Branham said the chapter is looking for properties it can acquire and rehabilitate. He said the group has received applications from people who would like to purchase a home.
He hoped the chapter can begin sorting through applications soon and get to work when the weather improves.
“This is a way to be proactive in our community,” Branham said.
“I can get you all kinds of statistics and all kinds of data to demonstrate the value of home ownership to people in any community – from students doing better academically to keeping people above the poverty line, being productive citizens in the community, paying their own taxes. Things like that do have value to society as a whole.”
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