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The King family makes their final mortgage payment on Dec. 31 and Habitat for Humanity celebrates the completion of eight more homes.

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Portland, Ore. (Dec. 31, 2009) -Eleven years ago Richard King, his wife Nona, and their four boys moved into a Habitat for Humanity home in northeast Portland. On December 31, 2009, Richard walked into the Habitat for Humanity office, check in hand, to pay off his mortgage.

“Being a Habitat homeowner has been a great experience and I would recommend the program to anybody.” King said. “Our mortgage payment has been less then rent, and the utilities are affordable.”

In May 1998, the Kings couldn’t afford a home. They had lost a down payment on a home in the late 1980s after the builder declared bankruptcy, and they fell too far behind on expenses.

“We’d been married 20 years and never owned a home,” Richard said. “We were renting a place that had bad mice problems, but home prices skyrocketed in the 90s and we couldn’t afford to move. One day my sister told me about Habitat for Humanity, and I checked into it, and now I’ve paid off my house. It’s a great feeling.”

King sells heavy duty truck parts for a living, while his wife home-schools their children. Their oldest two boys, Nick, 29, and Chris, 26, have gotten married and moved out of the house. Their younger sons, Michael and Richard, are 12 and have lived most of their lives in the Habitat home. They purchased the house with a no-interest mortgage after contributing sweat equity hours to Habitat.

Coincidentally, Habitat received the final permits for four new homes in Gresham on December 30 and four more homes in southeast Portland will be finished by the end of January. Key ceremonies will be held on January 18 and January 30 to dedicate the new homes to the families.

“We have many of reasons to celebrate New Year’s Eve 2009, and the King family is one of them,” said Steve Messinetti, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East.” Now that Habitat has been serving the Portland area for 28 years, we have families who come in to make the final payment on their mortgage. Paying off a mortgage means that the family has a new level of financial stability, and has truly broken out of the cycle of poverty.”

About Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East: Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East serves Multnomah County and northern Clackamas County. No other housing organization in the Portland/Metro East area offers a no-interest mortgage, giving Habitat the ability to reach out to families one step away from homelessness. Habitat sells the homes at cost, making no profit. Houses are sold below market value because of volunteer labor and donations. Families pay a 1% down payment on a 0% interest mortgage. Instead of being in a vulnerable and fragile economic position, Habitat families find themselves in a position of strength. www.habitatportlandmetro.org

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