Habitat for Humanity of Ellis County continues to make the American dream a reality for populations that would be hard pressed to qualify for a conventional loan for a dwelling.

It’s a dream come true for the Ramirez family, which will see its home built on Dunlap Street. A groundbreaking ceremony was held April 30, with construction slated to begin Aug. 13.

“The lot has been cleaned and the forms have been set,” said Kathy Rushing, treasurer for Ellis County Habitat for Humanity. “We’re going to raise the walls on the garage first.”

She explained the process whereby families qualify for a Habitat home.

“Families make application and then they will have a background and credit check,” she said. “Qualification is also determined by their need for shelter. Rental property is so high and if they can qualify for a Habitat for Humanity home, it will be a 20-year note with no interest. Payments are usually between $400 and $500 a month.”

Rushing noted that the homes aren’t given away to families and they also must be willing to partner (with Habitat for Humanity) to not only build on their own house, but to work on other houses as well. They must volunteer 100 hours before their own home can be built.

“The Ramirezes have already helped to build another house,” Rushing said. “And Habitat for Humanity is all volunteer and we have them from all over Ellis County to come and help.”

She said Habitat also benefits from student help through vocational classes at Waxahachie High School taught by Michael Craig.

“When they come to help, it always goes faster,” Rushing said. “During the summer they only work on Saturday, but when school starts, they will be able to help through the week.”

When Rushing said Habitat was all-volunteer, she wasn’t just referring to home construction.

“All our staff is volunteer, so when we need to send out notices calling for volunteers, it is all done by email,” she said, saying the organization has a large email list covering all of Ellis County.

Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller, natives of Lanett, Ala., and in 1984, national attention was brought to the organization through the participation of former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn. Through the work of Habitat, thousands of low-income families have found new hope in the form of affordable housing.

For further information about the Ellis County Habitat for Humanity or to volunteer, contact the organization by emailing info@ellishabitat.org. To donate funds to the 501(c)3 nonprofit, checks can be sent to Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 157, Waxahachie, TX 75168.

Contact Paul at paul.gauntt@wninews.com or 469-517-1450.