Dalton Habitat for Humanity is taking applications for new houses for the first time in about three years.

Applications are available through May 20 at the group’s Re-Store at 1499 N. Thornton Ave. Office hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, with additional hours of 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Completed applications will be accepted on May 25, from 5 to 8 p.m., and May 27 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Those who wish to apply must go through a screening process to make sure they are eligible. That includes a free homebuyer seminar and one-on-one counseling from the Dalton-Whitfield Community Development Corp.

Those interested in applying should call 706-876-1630 to begin the screening process. That process may also alert applicants if they qualify for any other type of housing aid.

People who are selected will be required to put a down payment on the house of 1 percent of the construction price and perform 250 hours of “sweat equity.” Hours spent in the homebuyer seminar and counseling can count toward the sweat equity, and those who are handicapped may have family members or others perform their service for them.

They must also have a total income, including any government assistance, high enough to maintain payments on the house, taxes and insurance.

Habitat’s efforts are aimed at families currently living in substandard housing.

The selection process may take up to six months and selected families may not move into a new home for up to two years.

The Dalton chapter generally builds one or two homes per year. It currently has land for construction on Ezzard Avenue.

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