Bree Carrington, Family Services Intern

Bree Carrington, Family Services Intern 

Throughout my time as an intern with Habitat for Humanity, I have had the opportunity to experience the journey of the families who will soon own their own homes. From the start to the finish line, I want to give you an inside look!

It all starts with an orientation that is typically held in the community that Habitat is building in. In this setting, applications are handed out and the potential applicants are eager with questions about the process.

After the application process ends, and the applications have been reviewed, the new future homeowners are selected! The future homeowners then begin working on their sweat equity hours. All homeowners are required to complete at least 325 sweat equity hours doing various acts of volunteer work with Habitat. I had the opportunity to work with a future homeowner of the Northside neighborhood at a community event in Hillsborough. After hearing her story and meeting her children, I knew how much it meant to her to be approved for her first home. It was a pleasure to feel her excitement of becoming a homeowner in the near future. She shared with me how great it felt to help build other family’s homes, and how she was also looking forward to getting the chance to help build her own home.

Bree Carrington at Home Dedication Ceremony

Bree at a Habitat Home Dedication

The homeowners are required to attend a mandatory homeowner education class. The class is given by the Family Services Director and is filled with tons of great information. The class provides guidelines to purchasing a home, help with credit repair, help with preparing a household budget, and several other necessary pieces of information needed to maintain a home.

Over the course of the homeownership process, families are working hard to complete the necessary steps of becoming a Habitat homeowner. Near the end of the journey is one of the most exciting parts of the entire process: the house dedication! This event is hosted by Habitat to welcome the family into their brand new home and to welcome them into the community.

Prior to the official closing meeting, there is a pre-closing held at the Habitat office.  At pre-closing, the Family Services Director and the homeowner review the mortgage and mortgage payments together. This step gives the homeowner the opportunity to ask questions prior to arriving at the attorney’s office. The homeowner manual is also reviewed during this time.

The last step is the closing meeting! At the closing meeting, the homeowner and the Family Services Director report to the attorney’s office to review and sign legal and financial documents. After every document has been signed, the homeowner simply becomes just that, a new homeowner! At the end of the meeting, the family receives the keys to their brand new home.

A completed Habitat home

A Completed Habitat Home

In all, I have had the opportunity to take a peek into the lives and activities of the Family Services Department as well as the families that they work with. Working with Habitat for Humanity over the past few months has only reassured what I already knew to be an amazing organization. From the outside looking in, I would have never imagined that so much went into the organization as a whole. Habitat for Humanity wants to ensure that everyone in Orange County has a decent and affordable place to live. They do much more than build homes. It is an organization that helps families build a strong foundation for the future, and I am so thankful to have been able to be a part of that process.