ST. GEORGE — Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Utah recently announced the future homeowner of the 25th house the nonprofit has awarded since it began operating in Southern Utah.
In what was disguised as a third visit to Hurricane resident Shannon Isom’s apartment to ask some final questions, Habitat for Humanity staff members actually surprised her with the announcement that she and her two children were chosen from a host of applicants to be the newest habitat homeowner.
“It was complete shock and surprise,” Isom said. “I didn’t see it coming.”
According to the Habitat for Humanity website, the organization provides 0% interest loans to qualified individuals in Washington and Iron counties who have a need for affordable housing and fall within certain income ranges, as well as other qualifications.
Interested applicants go through a selection process and must ultimately be willing to contribute 250 sweat equity hours toward the home build.
Kayo Skandunas, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Utah, said that since 1998, they have built an average of one home every 10 months.
The recent homeowner announcement marked the 25th home and also represented the first time Skandunas had been the one to make the announcement since he became executive director.
“The 25th home is a really big stretch for us, and we are very proud of that,” he said.
The new home is set to break ground in December, and Skandunas said that as the selection process wound down, five families were being considered and required the third home visit for some final questions.
“It was a difficult process,” he said.
But at the end of the day, he said that Isom was the perfect fit to be chosen as the homeowner because of her absolute willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity.
“It just made sense. She was exactly what we were looking for, and we think it’s going to change the trajectory of her kids’ lives.”
Isom, a single mother of two children, already had the financial discipline and understanding of Habitat’s mission in place, Skandunas said, adding that she falls into the range of people who cannot get a traditional home loan because of the cost of housing in Washington County.
Isom told St. George News she was surprised with the Oct. 29 announcement, especially when she thought it was just going to be her “third site visit.” Instead, she and her children were greeted outside her door with a large banner, balloons and the news that her family had been chosen.
It was an emotional and overwhelming moment for Isom.
“I was very, very nervous,” she said, referring to what she thought was going to be another site visit. “I was nervous because I wanted it so bad.”
For Isom, homeownership has been a goal and a dream for a very long time, she said, adding that she had moved around a lot prior to becoming a single mom.
“My ex-husband was military, and we moved and moved,” she said. “I look forward to having a home for my kids.”
Isom said she heard about Habitat for Humanity through her sister and decided to apply.
After the surprise announcement, Isom was taken to the future home site in Hurricane, where she was greeted by members of the Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Utah board of directors.
She lauded the efforts of the nonprofit group for helping with affordable housing in the area.
“I think it’s amazing. I feel like there is a gap that they are filling in for people who can’t afford to buy,” Isom said. “I’m very hopeful for the future for me and my kids.”
Information on the homeownership program can be found on the Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Utah website.
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