Kimberly and Matthew Johnson and their family have recently been selected by Habitat for Humanity of Rutland County to live in a new home being built at 42 Cleveland Ave. in Rutland. This family of four is currently renting an older two bedroom unit in a building that houses seven other units in the same building, surrounded by paved parking spaces. Many photographs of their family decorate the walls of this home but space is at a premium. Their new home, designed by John Berryhill, will have three bedrooms and a nice yard and will be more affordable. The mortgage, property taxes, and insurance will be lower that their current rental fees.
Matt owns his own business, Johnson Landscaping, and has clients throughout the state. It is a demanding job but he loves it. “I eat, breathe, and sleep this business,” he said. Kim also works there, doing bookwork as well as some landscaping work. She is also assistant manager at Mac’s Markets in Center Rutland.
Fourteen-year-old Breanna currently stays with Matt’s mother in Shrewsbury, where she has her own bedroom and access to her a much-loved horse. A third bedroom will mean they can all be together.
“It never really occurred to me to apply for housing help with Habitat for Humanity,” said Kim. “We were so busy just working, paying rent, and meeting other expenses. Owning a home seemed like a far away dream, what with having to save up for a 20 percent down payment.”
They were surprised to find that not only did they qualify, but the process was quick and painless. “The application was easy enough to fill out, and then we were interviewed by a small selection committee,” Kim said. “It was fast.”
At a ground-breaking ceremony on June 10, about 50 people were in attendance.
The real work to make this a reality is about to begin. The Johnsons will be taking financial classes and working along with the volunteers to build this home—all while continuing to work and raise their family. It will be a busy year.
“We had never taken that first step to home ownership,” but with Habitat’s support, their own “sweat equity” efforts, and volunteer labor, Matt and Kim will be able to own their own new home. “We feel like it is an investment in our children’s future,” Matt said. “Instead of paying rent, we will be investing in ourselves.”
Photo courtesy Habitat for Humanity
Matthew, Kimberly and Breanna Johnson will be moving into the completed Habitat for Humanity house on Cleveland Ave. in Rutland.