A few weeks ago I went on a Hab-i-Tour, a bus tour of San Antonio Habitat for Humanity’s newest development near Palo Alto College. The bus tour was a little under an hour. Three Habitat staff members were on the tour to provide information and answer questions. They also showed a video highlighting one of the Habitat homeowners and read a letter from a homeowners detailing his journey in obtaining a home.
Habitat has been building homes in San Antonio since 1976. Homes were previously built on scattered vacant lots in inner-city neighborhoods. Habitat is now focusing on building subdivisions of houses on larger tracks of land on the outskirts of the city. Habitat is planning to build 50 houses in 2009.
Volunteer house building days are Friday and Saturday. On the bus tour we saw numerous volunteers painting and roofing. Unfortunately my camera wasn’t working on the Friday we took the tour. I went back on another day to take the pictures so there aren’t any volunteers shown.
More than 12,000 volunteers assist in Habitat activities each year. Each family purchasing a Habitat house must volunteer at least 300 hours. The annual income of homebuyers averages $20,000. Families also participate in an extensive homebuyer education program.
Money donated to Habitat goes toward construction costs. In 2008 each Habitat home cost about $63,000 to build not including infrastructure. Homebuyers receive a 20-25 year zero percent mortgage. Monthly mortgage payments including taxes and insurance are $375 to $425. Mortgage payments help fund construction of additional houses.
The Hab-i-Tours are offered each month except for November and December. To sign up for a tour call Shelly at 223-5203. The tour offers a good overview for someone interested in volunteering or donating to Habitat. The Hab-i-Tour departed from the Habitat Home Center at 311 Probandt. After the bus tour we walked through a model home built into the back of the thrift store. Proceeds from the Home Centers fund Habitat’s administrative expenses.