MANCHESTER - Affordable homes for those in lower income levels might seem too good to be true, but they do exist.

Habitat is looking for applicants who want to explore the possibility of owning an energy efficient, new home in Manchester, which they will help to build along with many other volunteers, starting this summer.

Those who are interested - or might know someone who is - and who also meet the basic requirements should contact the Habitat office at 802-367-1000 or email bennhabitat@yahoo.com.

Applicants must have lived or worked within Bennington County for at least the past 12 months, and their current housing must be temporary or unsatisfactory in terms of space, cost, structural problems, handicapped accessibility, or safety issues. They must be willing to help build and maintain their home, as well as be good neighbors.

Applicants should have a steady source of income, a history of managing money responsibly, and fit within Habitat's income range.

For example, for a household of four to receive a 30 year mortgage, the household's annual income before taxes should be approximately $31,000-$38,700 although in special cases it could be a bit lower or higher.

Anyone interested in exploring this housing option is encouraged to contact Habitat for more information and answers to questions.

Habitat's mission is to help lower income families to live in safe, decent, and affordable housing. Habitat homes are bought by hard-working families, who pay an interest-free, long-term mortgage.

Many local volunteers help each family build each home, reducing the construction cost. Monthly housing payments are approximately $750 and include mortgage, property taxes, property insurance, and a homeowner association fee.