Heart of the High Plains: Habitat for Humanity of Amarillo helps residents become homeowners

Heart of the High Plains

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) There’s nothing like becoming a homeowner, especially when you have worked hard for it. Habitat for Humanity of Amarillo has given countless opportunities to those who need it the most.

“Being able to live in a house which you built,” Habitat for Humanity participant, Mugisha Aime.

Aime is just one of many participants the Habitat for Humanity of Amarillo has helped become a homeowner.

“We lived in a three bedroom apartment and before that, we’re originally from Africa so access to a house such as this is incredible,” Aime added.

Aime said he’ll never forget the day he and his family received their first set of house keys.

“I was shaking, I remember I was like ‘seriously they’re going to give us keys and not only that, they gave us two keys’,” Aime said.

Community Relations Director of Habitat for Humanity, Ashlie Zinolli, said it’s the entire process that makes it even more rewarding.

“There are certain qualifications that each family has to meet, they have to meet a certain HUD income guidelines they have to put down a $1,500 down payment,” Zinolli explained. “They also have to volunteer at least 500 hours and we call that sweat equity.”

For Aime, that sweat equity turned out to be a key to unlocking more opportunities in life.

“I knew that they can try to pay off this house as much as they can but if I don’t go and get my college degree to help my siblings some day that would be creating another stress for them,” Aime said. “Receiving this house changed my entire life.”

“For us … It’s not a hand out it’s a hand up,” Zinolli said.

Aime recently graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering. He’s now pursuing his masters at West Texas A & M.

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