COTTONWOOD -- A family now living in Clarkdale soon will move into a new custom-built home in Verde Village. Karla and Derrick Bonner and daughter Jessikah have been chosen to be the next Verde Valley Habitat for Humanity family. They are thrilled.
As we talked to the Bonners at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore on Cottonwood's Main Street, the construction committee was next door going over details of Bonner's home.
"We have never owned a home before; always rented," Derrick Bonner said from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore on Cottonwood's Main Street. "Our family has wanted to be homeowners for a long time. We didn't know if that dream would become a reality. We were just thankful to go through the process."
"We hope to break ground in the next month," said Laurie Rangel, chair of the Habitat Family Selection Committee. "The process has taken six to eight months to get to this point. We are really excited about it. When we finally selected a family. It's like our feet weren't touching the ground yet. We couldn't wait to tell them."
The Bonners were selected from numerous local applicants. To qualify, a family must be in need of adequate housing, fall into specified income guidelines, be able to pay a mortgage of $400 to $600 and invest in the home through "sweat equity."
A key point about that mortgage is that there is no interest on the balance,
"They need to put in a certain amount of sweat equity hours," Laurie said.
"They can work on site or in the store, helping with office work. Not all of the hours have to be done here, either. They can be done by family members that even live in another state, under their name. Sweat equity hours can be done by family members or by friends, but 50 percent of the house needs to be put in by the family."
"Even with arthritis, I will get right in there and help," said Derrick. "I have already had families call me from my church that are also construction people and contractors asking, "can we help?'"
The new house will be 1,160 square feet with a fixed floor plan, though Karla has asked for a few minor changes. The site for the property is a lot on Cherry Hills Way.
Laurie said, "Karla has been looking at the drawings like a "real homeowner.'"
The prominent ReStore retail space on Main Street in Cottonwood has made a big difference to the Verde Valley Habitat operations. It has tripled operations from just one year ago. The store formerly operated out of a warehouse space on Cherry Street with little visibility.
That is important. Sales of new and like-new donated building materials helps generate revenue for the non-profit organization, dedicated to providing quality housing for people who need it.
The Bonners' house will be the 12th for the Verde Valley Habitat. But, the operation hopes to step up that pace now that the new ReStore is in full operation. They hope to build two houses each year.
"We have one property in Sedona, one in Camp Verde and a couple more in Cottonwood," said Laurie.
To apply for a Habitat home, call Verde Valley Habitat at (928) 649-6788 or email email@example.com.
All kinds of volunteers are needed, said Laurie. "We accept applications from all over, anywhere and everywhere that can do anything and everything. We can always put you to work somewhere."