Habitat for Humanity presents keys to fourth home in Portales

Helena Rodriguez: PNT Staff Writer

The Johnson family has a new home for the holidays, thanks to Habitat for Humanity of Roosevelt and Curry counties.

On Saturday, Dan Gould, the outgoing construction manager for the Johnson’s three-bedroom, two-bath home at 304 E. Kaywood, presented Amanda and Andy Johnson and their two sons, Christian, 9, and Michael, 2, with the keys to their new home which was built with their own sweat equity and the help of volunteers.

“I feel honored and privileged to present the family with the keys to this house,” Gould said. “The key chain on it says love. We built this house with love and all I ask is that you guys pass it on.”

The Johnson’s home was the fourth house Habitat for Humanity has built in Portales since 2003, with three homes being dedicated over the past year alone.

If an inspection goes through as planned on Monday, the Johnsons will move into their new home by Christmas. To show her gratitude, Amanda will invite 40 people, all involved in helping build the house, to a Christmas dinner she will prepare in her new kitchen.

“A lot of my friends have said, ‘Are you crazy?’ but that is the way I want to show my gratitude,” she said.

Andy works as a mechanic for Milk Transport Services and Amanda works a couple of hours a day in the Habitat for Humanity office, where she began her involvement with Habitat as a volunteer.

“I signed up to be a volunteer when I heard the executive director, Joyce Davis, speak at a Home Owners’ Convention. I thought it would be a good cause,” Amanda said. However, Amanda and Andy hesitated about applying for a Habitat home themselves because they weren’t aware of the guidelines and were unsure whether they would qualify. But with the encouragement of Davis, Amanda and Andy applied and were selected.

“There’s no way we’d be able to buy a home without Habitat for Humanity,” Amanda said. “We looked around at other houses around town over a year ago and they were all around $100,000.”

With Habitat for Humanity, the Johnsons will pay a no-interest loan at a low monthly payment between $200 and $215 throughout the course of about 15 to 20 years.

The homes are inexpensive because they are all built with the help of volunteers, with the only exceptions being the licensed contractors who do electrical work and plumbing. In addition, people who are chosen for homes must help build the house through “sweat equity.”

Davis said families are required to put in at least 500 hours of sweat equity, but noted that the Johnsons probably put in more like 5,000 hours because they were so involved from start to finish.

Gould was also involved from start to finish, dedicating all of his Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., to building the home with about four other volunteers.

“I volunteered with Habitat for Humanity because I look at it as using my God-given talents to help make the world a better place, one house at a time,” Gould said.

Unfortunately, Gould, who has helped build the other three Habitat homes, resigned from the volunteer position as construction manager due to other commitments. Davis said Habitat for Humanity will begin plans on building its fifth home once they find a new volunteer construction manager. She said Habitat has four more lots they have purchased in Portales on which to build homes .

For more information about Habitat for Humanity, call 359-1344 or log on to www.habitatrcc.com