There is an empty lot in a Greenfield neighborhood Trish Botta has come to cherish. To an unknowing eye, it appears to be just a plot of grass, but Botta knows better. She sees what will be.
One day soon, a house will take shape on the property, a home Botta can call her own.
A place finally filled with just her things. A backyard with the perfect view of the northern sky. A mantel where her daughters can hang their Christmas stockings.
Botta will own the first Habitat for Humanity home built in Hancock County, the organization recently announced. The group purchased a lot in the 400 block of Virginia Court in Greenfield, and organization leaders say construction could begin as early as next spring.
As a single mother working two jobs, Botta said assistance from the organization came after nearly two years of bunking at her sister’s New Palestine home while searching for a reasonably priced place to live in central Indiana.
It was frustrating at times, Botta said, but Habitat felt like a friendly hand reaching out to give her a boost.
That’s the organization’s goal, said Abri Hochstetler, a spokeswoman for Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity, which oversees builds in Marion, Hendricks and Hancock counties.
Habitat for Humanity calls itself a Christian ministry dedicated to providing housing to those who might not be able to afford a traditional mortgage. By helping those who qualify for home ownership, the nonprofit’s hope is to increase self-sufficiency, officials said.
“Habitat fills gaps in a (difficult) time people might have in their life,” Hochstetler said. “We’re not giving away free homes; they are going to people who really have a need at that time.”
Botta was raised in Upland but lived in Birmingham, Alabama, for about 25 years, she said.
The Southern city was all her daughters, Rachel and Holly, knew. They loved their lives in the South; but when her girls reached high-school age, Botta said, the rougher inner-city schools didn’t sit well with her.
Two years ago, they began the process of relocating to Indiana and moved in with Botta’s sister and brother-in-law, Ellen and Rick Adams of New Palestine. The plan was for Botta to stay at her sister’s for six months at the most, Botta said. But finding affordable housing in the area proved to be difficult.
Eventually she took her chances on Habitat for Humanity, Botta said, and, to her surprise, her application was accepted just 24 hours after she turned it in.
It was like seeing a light appear at the end of a long tunnel, she said.
“Then, we knew where I was headed,” she said. “It gives you hope.”
Habitat for Humanity looks for hardworking and responsible applicants, like Botta, who demonstrate financial need but stability, Hochstetler said. Applicants must provide proof of income over at least two years, and they cannot have outstanding liens or bankruptcies, she said.
The organization has been eager to build in Hancock County for some time, and Botta’s application was met with excitement from volunteers and staffers, officials said.
“Trish’s home is the beginning of our commitment to serve and partner with Hancock County for many years,” Jim Morris, the president of Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity, said in a news release. “We know it will be a wonderful place to call home for Trish and her daughters.”
Habitat houses don’t come for free, contrary to what many believe, Hochstetler said. Botta, like all Habitat homeowners, is required to work 300 hours volunteering at other home constructions and to take finance and basic home maintenance classes.
By the time Botta moves into the Greenfield home, she’ll be an empty-nester, she said: one of her daughters attends a university in Georgia; the other is a senior in high school and is headed for college next fall.
Still, the three-bedroom home Botta will move into will be a great place for her girls to come home to and call their own, she said. She said she is eager to put down roots in Greenfield and is already scoping out places to attend church, work and volunteer.
Once she receives the keys, Botta will begin payments on a no-interest mortgage, which will be used to fund future Habitat endeavors, Hochstetler said.
“It’s this beautiful cycle,” she said. “With the support of sponsors and volunteers, we can really help homeowners, and they, in turn, are helping those who need it.”
Habitat for Humanity won’t break ground on its first home in Hancock County until next year, but the organization needs local volunteers and sponsors before building can start.
For more information about how to join the effort, contact Ted Mosey, the director of development for Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity, at 317-777-6091.
Do you qualify?
Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity is looking to partner with first-time homebuyers living in Marion, Hendricks and Hancock counties.
- Show they have had a stable income for the past two years
- Prove financial need
- Have had no outstanding liens or bankruptcies for two years
- Agree to take Habitat for Humanity finance classes and volunteer on other home constructions
For more information, visit indyhabitat.org or contact Martha Pabon, homeowner outreach coordinator, at 317-777-6068.