December 18, 2014

Elyria
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Habitat for Humanity dedicates first new home in 4 years

Tara Anson receives a kiss from her son, Jordan, 20 months, on Tuesday while surrounded by friends and family for the blessing of her new Habitat for Humanity-built house. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

Tara Anson receives a kiss from her son, Jordan, 20 months, on Tuesday while surrounded by friends and family for the blessing of her new Habitat for Humanity-built house. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — On a rainy day in April, Lorain County Habitat for Humanity employees and volunteers broke ground in a muddy lot at 311 Franklin Ave.

On Tuesday, their sweat and labor paid off with the dedication of a new home for a single mother and her two young children.

“This was raised with love and patience,” said Ralph DeJesus, a donation manager for ReStore, a Habitat business that sells donated appliances and building materials. “It’s a blessing.”

Tara Anson and her children Jordan, 20 mos., and Makayla Matear, 6, of Elyria stand in front of their new home.

Tara Anson and her children Jordan, 20 mos., and Makayla Matear, 6, of Elyria stand in front of their new home.

The 1,024-square-foot, one-floor, wood-frame house was built for Tara Anson, 24, Jordan, her 20-month-old son, and Makayla, her 6-year-old daughter. Anson said she found out about the Habitat home buyer program in February and attended eight hours of classes that are part of it.

Anson said she is grateful for the home, off Foster Avenue and state Route 57. Anson said the Gulf Road home she’s lived in since 2008 has been burglarized three times. The roof partially collapsed and the basement leaks, she said.

Anson is a certified nursing assistant who said she earns $21,000 annually at Wesleyan Village, a senior citizen living complex run by Wesleyan Senior Living. Anson said she works overtime for extra money, but couldn’t afford a new home with a typical mortgage.

The monthly payment on the Habitat home’s 30-year mortgage is $288, said Kelly La Rosa, Habitat executive director. That’s far less than what Anson said she pays in monthly rent.

“And it’s mine,” Anson said. “It’s not just rent I’m paying.”

The home is the 42nd built by Lorain County Habitat, founded in 1988. The 41st was in 2010 and another is planned for next spring, La Rosa said. Habitat also rehabilitates vacant homes and “recycles” Habitat homes when homeowners who utilized the program move.

To be eligible, La Rosa said applicants must earn at least three times as much as their annual mortgage payments. Applicants must earn 80 percent or less of the area median income as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This year’s median income limit in Lorain County is $35,100 for an individual and $50,100 for a family of four, according to HUD’s website.

Lorain County Habitat is a nonprofit group with two paid full-time employees and six part-timers, so it relied on donations of money and labor for much of the $86,000 cost of construction.

Contributors included Moen, a North Olmsted-based faucet company, which donated $20,000 and labor, and Avon Lake United Church of Christ, which donated $10,600 and labor. South Amherst-based Electrical Accents and Jamie’s Carpet Shop, which has stores in Amherst, Elyria and Sandusky, also donated labor and materials.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter at @egoodenowct.