|Aug 05, 2013 --
Timothy I. Miller, a veteran of the U.S. Army and a 100% visually impaired individual, had been renting for seventeen years. His most recent apartment shared two thin walls with noisy neighbors and a third wall with the laundry room. In addition, the living arrangements were cramped and less than ideal. Even with limited possessions, Timothy still had to rent a storage unit to store some of what he did have. He dreamed of an opportunity to own a home of his own. The Norfolk Area Habitat for Humanity (NAHFH) and USDA Rural Development (USDA RD) worked together to make this dream a reality.
USDA RD was able to work directly with Timothy to determine him eligible as an applicant for the Direct Home Ownership program. During this process, NAHFH worked closely with Timothy to ensure that the property that had been deeded back to them would meet his needs due to his disability. This was done by installing a special shower stall and a talking thermostat, as well as replacing the roof and flooring, painting the interior and installing new window shades. One of the bedrooms was converted to be used as a workshop so that Timothy could stay busy working on his crafts and hobbies to pass the time. The Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce also participated in the rehabilitation of the property by having local businesses such as Our Savior Lutheran Church and Northeast Community College donate time, talent, and energy to the property.
USDA RD provided 100 percent financing through the Rural Housing Direct loan program to help put this individual into a newly rehabilitated home for less than $60,000.00. NAHFH also subsidized a portion of the purchase to help Timothy keep his mortgage comparable to what he was previously paying for rent. As part of the partnership with NAHFH, Whirlpool donated appliances for the home. Without the partnership between USDA RD, NAHFH, and the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce, Timothy may never have been able to make his dream a reality.
The partnership between USDA RD and NAHFH generated benefits beyond that of just homeownership. This process helped generate local business and employment, helped inspire others in the area to make their dreams come true, helped to re-establish a rarely used partnership, and helped keep a property from becoming dilapidated.