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OH Habitat for Humanity Impacted by Budget

June 11, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Cuts to federal programs loom large over Ohio's Habitat for Humanity chapters. In his proposed budget this year, President 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 is the CEO of Habitat for Humanity in Columbus. He 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, HUD 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. 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.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH