Construction on Telegraph Townhomes isn’t scheduled to start until Spring of 2017, but we’ve got a lot of work to do before that phase of the project can begin. Last week we crossed another item off our to-do list with the digging of test pits on the property in order to get the geological information we need to make sure storm water flows off the site in benign ways.
It Started with a Poker Game
During a friendly poker game, Executive Director John Moon and Bellingham local Steve LeCocq got to talking about Habitat for Humanity and the challenges of acquiring buildable land in Whatcom County. As it happened, LeCocq owned some of precisely that kind of land out on Telegraph Road. Moon contacted Kulshan Community Land Trust … would they be interested in partnering up? “We bought the property years ago to develop it,” LeCocq says. “So to have someone as cool as [Habitat and Kulshan CLT] come along ….” In short order, LeCocq’s land became the future site of Telegraph Townhomes.
Now We’re One Step Closer
In addition to selling his land to Kulshan CLT and Habitat, LeCocq also helps maintain it by mowing the 2.5 acres regularly. And last week he even climbed into a digger and dug the pits for the engineer! Thank you, Steve, for helping to make our Telegraph Townhomes project possible and for continuing to help us get closer to making that project a reality.
Habitat Core Value #3: Not to Profit from the Poor.
From Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County Executive Director John Moon.
homes for what it costs us to build them, and we finance them for our partner families at 0%. We call this “God’s Interest Rate.” It’s about human dignity and building community. Here are the numbers supporting Habitat’s biblical economics:
The most recent home that Habitat built in Bellingham was appraised at a modest $230,000. But the homeowners’ total repayment cost over 30 years will be just $133,891. Their monthly mortgage payment is $299.48 each month, a very affordable payment for Jaime, who works on a dairy farm, and his wife Leandra, a child-care worker, and their three young children.
A conventional buyer making a 20% down payment and getting market rate financing at 4.5% APR would pay $932.30 each month for the same small, simple, decent house. Over 30 years these owners would pay $401,629 on their mortgage.
What will Habitat homeowners like Jaime and Leandra do with $267,737.42 worth of labor costs, market inflation, profit margin, and loan interest that they are saving over 30 years? Several hundred extra dollars each month can be transformed into better nutrition and access to healthcare. These basics, in turn, support better access to education, and the ability to save – for childrens’ college, for retirement, for emergencies.
The power of God’s 0% interest rate elevates families out of poverty forever. A monthly Habitat mortgage payment not only adds to a homeowner’s estate but provides a sustainable revenue stream so that Habitat can continue building more homes each year.