SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — 18 local families are going through a life-changing process. They’re months away from receiving their very own home after Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento selected them to move into the most significant build the organization has ever done, called Cornerstone, in Sacramento County.

Early Friday morning, dozens of volunteers – including a team from ABC10 – gathered for instructions. All throughout March – Women’s History Month – volunteers have been helping Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento build homes for families in need. 

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“It's really touching what it means to these families to get these homes,” Habitat site supervisor Terry Hardin said. “Each one of our families have their own story to tell and what it took to get where they are right now.”

He pointed to the home behind him on the construction site.

“The family that's getting this home right here, it's a family of five that are living in a one-bedroom apartment,” Hardin said, adding they also have a son with autism. “So for this family to get this home right here, it's like winning the lottery almost. They'll have a zero-interest equivalent loan. They'll own this house.”

Each family receiving a Habitat home must put in 500 hours of so-called ‘sweat equity,’ where they’re standing alongside volunteers and staff, building their own home.

In order to qualify for a Habitat home, a family must make 30 to 80% of the area's median income.

“They have to be living in substandard housing, overcrowded conditions, or paying too much for rent. That's how they qualify,” Hardin said. “And then there's a there's a pretty strict process in order to be accepted into the program.”

For those who are accepted, it’s life-changing.

“It has a huge impact on the families and the kids. You know, most of our families are living in overcrowded conditions, and so when they get a house like this - although there's not a lot of square footage - it's a lot of special personal space for the kids,” Hardin said.

He has worked for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento for the better part of two decades.

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“A lot of these homeowners, you know, you keep in touch with them over the years, and I've watched these families, you know, raise their kids and they're able to send them to college,” Hardin said.

Ten of the 18 homes should be complete this summer, after which Habitat will begin building the remaining eight homes.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento is now accepting new applications for homeownership, through March 31. Habitat’s unique affordable homeownership program offers a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 0 percent interest and with no down payment. More information is available HERE.

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