MANCHESTER - The Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity received a $90,000 grant which will be used to build the next three homes for the Jennifer Lane project, according to Executive Director Richard Malley.

One-third of the amount - or $30,000 - will go into the building of each of the next three homes. As part of the grant conditions, the grant must be used for the Jennifer Lane project only and the next three homes must also be built sometime in the next two years.

"This will reduce the cost of the mortgage for each of the next three homes by $30,000," said Malley. "Our goal with this Jennifer Lane project all along has been to meet one of the goals of the town plan of Manchester, which was adopted in 2007, to provide more affordable housing. This grant helps us to accomplish that."

Malley said that Habitat must build the next three homes in two years as part of the grant conditions laid down by the Bank of Bennington.

"We are working hard to select the next two, if not the next three families. In order to do this grant we have to build these three houses over the next two years. The criteria that is established by the bank says they want the money used right away, so the money doesn't linger," said Malley.

The $90,000 grant was made to the Bank of Bennington for use by the Bennington Area Habitat of Humanity affiliate, which was applied for in September 2012. They were notified that they had received the grant on Dec. 24.

"The grant comes from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston," said Malley.


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"When we applied for the grant we did it through the Bank of Bennington, we had to have their endorsement. The grant is actually made to the bank and they, in turn, disperse the funds to us. We would not be getting this grant without the help and partnership of the Bank of Bennington."

Habitat is now looking for families who would like to apply to live in the next three homes on Jennifer Lane, which Malley said can be difficult given the requirements each family must pass.

"The reality is that finding families who earn enough money but not too much money and who have decent credit is a challenge," he said. "It is much harder than just finding people who need a place to live. There are strict guidelines that these families needs to meet. We don't want to put a family in a home and then have to foreclose. We have to make sure they have a sufficient enough income and not too much debt."

Malley said that is anyone is interested should call Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity to gather information.

The second home to be completed is scheduled for a grand opening on Feb. 24 and is built for the family of Brenda and Roy Cooper with their children Jen, Shawna, and Cody.