Lawrence, MA — The Merrimack Valley affiliate (MVHH) (based in Lawrence, MA) of Habitat for Humanity International held their annual recognition and fund-raising ‘Building Dreams, Homes & Hope Gala’ in May 2018 and the highlight at the event was Selina Par, who shared her story and the impact an Habitat home had on her children’s lives.

At 15, Selina escaped Khmer Rouge oppression in Cambodia by fleeing to Thailand where she lived in the jungle for three years. She was able to emigrate to the United States where she met her husband and lived in a crowded and unsafe public housing apartment with their three daughters. 25 years ago, her family was chosen to be a Habitat family. Selina and her family contributed the required 360 sweat equity hours in helping Habitat volunteers build their new home and bought their home with a Habitat-funded 0% interest/25-year mortgage, which they paid off last year.

“Our lives changed for the better by having our own house through Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity. Owning this house helped us be financially stable,” said Selina Par. Their three daughters all graduated with honors from high school and have graduated with college.

Studies have shown the importance of owning a home. When a child grows up in a home that is owned:

  • He scores 9% higher on math achievement tests and 7% higher on reading tests (versus a kid in a home that is rented).
  • She is 25% more likely to graduate high school and 116% more likely to finish college.
  • He himself is 59% more likely to be a homeowner in 10 years.
  • His family income is 100% higher.
  • She is 40% less likely to have a teen pregnancy.
  • She is 50% less likely to grow up in a single parent household.
  • He is 50% less likely to be on welfare at age 20.
  • She will earn on average an income that is 100% higher than a child raised in a rented home.

Simply put, children of homeowners are more successful in life by whatever measure you choose…and Habitat for Humanity homes support this trend.

With a new joint project with Andover Community Trust, MVHH is building homes in Lupine Rd. Andover, MA. MVHH is looking for four qualifying households to become Habitat families and will be holding homeowner informational meetings:

June 13 6pm-8pm and June 16 2pm-4pm
Andover Baptist Church
7 Central Street, Andover MA

RSVP required. Contact Roxanna 978-681-8858 ext. 10 or

MVHH is building two duplex homes in Andover, MA. Each permanently affordable unit will have 3 bedrooms. Mortgages will be affordable and cover the cost of principal, taxes, insurance and condo fees. House will be priced up to $181,600. Application deadline is Jul 16, 2018.

To qualify: Must be a first time homebuyer, have a willingness to partner, and volunteer 240-360 hours of sweat equity, have financial need and situational need.
Habitat targeted income guidelines:

  • Household size 3 – Minimum income $25,650 to Maximum $51,300
  • Household size 4 – Minimum income $28,500 to Maximum $57,000
  • Household size 5 – Minimum income $30,800 to Maximum $61,560
  • Household size 6 – Minimum income $33,740 to Maximum $66,120
    – based on 30% to 60% of average median income. Subject to change. Financial information based on HUD income limits 2018

How do I apply?
Attend one informational meeting for details and the application process.

In accordance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Fair Housing Act, Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity does not discriminate with regards to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, family status, marital status, receipt of public assistant income or age (provided that the applicant has the capacity to enter into a binding contract).

About Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity
Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization dedicated to building affordable homes in the Merrimack Valley. Founded in 1985, we have delivered on our mission for close to 100 families to date. We are an independent local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, the largest non-profit homebuilder in the world. To help fund our work, we opened our ReStore where we sell donated appliances, furniture, building materials and home furnishings at greatly reduced prices. To donate, volunteer or learn more, please visit

About Habitat for Humanity
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The affordable housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in thousands of communities throughout the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit

For more information, contact:
Sonia Kuenzig, Director of Public Relations
Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity
60 Island Street, 2nd Floor East, Lawrence, MA 01840
978-681-8858 ext. 16