New program helps with extreme home makeovers

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

CHANDLER, Ariz.. -- Qualified homeowners in Chandler may have the opportunity for an extreme home makeover thanks in part to a new Habitat for Humanity of Central Arizona program.

Habitat is looking for two to three families to apply by Sept. 5.

It's called the Housing Reconstruction Program and it's in partnership with the City of Chandler.

Residents who own their homes outright and meet other criteria can apply for an interest-free loan, which in combination with a grant from the city can be used to repair, remodel or rebuild their home.

"For people who have maybe an older home that needs an extreme makeover, if you will, and they own it free and clear, we would take ownership of the land, tear down the property, build a brand new house right there," said Todd Rogers of Habitat for Humanity of Central Arizona.

Once construction is finished, the title is transferred back to the homeowner along with a new low-cost mortgage.

Currently the program is only available in Chandler, but Habitat is in the process of trying to expand it to other Valley cities.

Isabel Duran was the first Valley resident to go through the process.

Her 1941 woodframe-style Chandler home had fallen into disrepair.

"It was pretty bad, and I had a swamp cooler and it was miserable during the summer," Duran said.

For years she had been reaching out to different agencies for help, but nothing suited her situation until this opportunity came along.

"I never thought it'd come out so nice," she said.

Crews had to completely demolish Duran's home and start over.

Candidates must meet income requirements, attend a training session, and take part in the building process. Habitat calls it "sweat equity."

Duran and her daughter were at the home every Saturday for around four months helping out. She says it was all worth it.

"With my daughter's help, with the city and Habitat for Humanity, this is my dream," she said.

To find out if you qualify, contact Habitat for Humanity of Central Arizona at 602-268-9022 or visit their website.