Habitat For Humanity Dedicates Home To Salisbury Family, Warns of Rising Costs for Building Affordable Housing

SALISBURY, MD-  Cheers broke out Wednesday as the Habitat for Humanity of Wicomico dedicated a new house to the Joinville family in Salisbury.

The dedication brought out community leaders- and the volunteers who helped make it happen.

For the Joinville’s, it’s the end of a nearly 3-year journey toward owning a home.

“If it was not for habitat we would still be living in an apartment,” said home receiver Billy Joinville.

Joinville and his mother will live in the new house in Salisbury.

Joinville told 47ABC that the lack of affordable housing in Salisbury had left him and his mother frustrated and wondering if they would ever be able to live in a home of their own.

“It got to that point where we thought we’re just going to have to stay in an apartment forever,” he said.

Molly Hilligoss, Director of Wicomico Habitat for Humanity told 47ABC with a house through her program, families are able to qualify with a smaller down payment and lower monthly costs on a mortgage. 

She told 47ABC they have plans for 3 more homes this year but the costs of creating affordable housing are going up for her organization.

“The biggest challenge was the cost of construction and getting the materials and lumber- this home was a rehab but we literally had to replace almost every board inside it,” Hilligoss said.

She says lumber is getting cheaper is inflation rates for consumer products fall in the US,  but rates for plumbers and electricians rose even more due to the higher cost of labor.  

Hilligoss told 47ABC the waiting list for those 3 homes currently has ten families on it.

She believes she can’t make a dent in fixing a lack of affordable housing at this scale but she says Habitat has a plan.

” We are looking for opportunities where we can scale if there’s a landlord out there that doesn’t want to be a landlord anymore and would like to sell us their portfolio of Homes we can convert to homeownership,” she said.

Hilligoss said she hopes larger projects can help more families avoid the struggle of finding affordable housing like the Joinville’s did.

“I remember me and my mom just like almost giving up because so many houses had prices going up there are so many things we had to look at because when we — you have a house – you want it to be perfect or good for us to be able to come and enjoy it and not have to sacrifice anything,” Billy said.

Hilligoss told 47ABC that it’s in a community’s best interest to have affordable housing which allows renewable movement of generating wealth to take hold and grow in a community.

She says her work is already increasing that wealth by increasing the value of the houses in the area, while still keeping them affordable.

The Joinville’s house was valued at just 8,00 dollars according to Hilligoss and is currently valued at 148,000, however it would have been valued at over 200,000 dollars if it had been done through a conventional ‘fixer-upper venture, rather than through Wicomico Habitat For Humanity.

She believes more investments and corporate sponsorships can help other ventures help to bring more affordable housing to communities that need them most.

“Imagine if other organizations did the same thing, we don’t have to be the only game in town,” she said.








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