PDT Staff Writer
Cuts to federal programs loom large over Ohio’s Habitat for Humanity chapters. According to a story on the Ohio News Connection, in his proposed budget this year, President Barack Obama did not recommend funding for the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP), which helps nonprofits such as Habitat purchase property and develop infrastructure for affordable housing.
E.J. Thomas, CEO of Habitat for Humanity in Columbus, says they use SHOP funds for a variety of purposes.
“It can be used for acquisition, demolition, site preparation for the construction of a new home. There are a lot of homes in and around Ohio that would not have been built without the help of these SHOP funds.”
SHOP funds are used in a way where Habitat, the U.S. Department of House and Urban Development and the government partner with the private sector. Thomas says it works very well, because Habitat leverages one dollar of funds for every five dollars of private investment. The federal program is built around the Habitat model, which involves potential homeowners in the construction of their home.
Chris Ptomey is the director of federal relations for Habitat for Humanity International. He says choosing to eliminate SHOP funding will end up costing in the long run.
“We only serve families that aren’t being served by other programs,” Ptomey said. “We’re talking about a group of people who either will not be served or will have to turn to other government programs.”
Ptomey says the President’s reasoning in eliminating SHOP funding is that purchasing property and developing infrastructure is covered under another federal program. However, Ptomey says that program, called HOME, does not often fund self-help housing programs.
Laura Walker, co-president of Scioto County Habitat for Humanity said the group is slated to complete three homes this year, one in West Portsmouth and two in Portsmouth. Habitat for Humanity has nine homes throughout Scioto County, with four homes in Portsmouth, four in New Boston and one in South Webster.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org