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Habitat For Humanity Is Replacing Vermont Mobile Homes With Affordable Bungalows

Charlotte Albright
Elisabeth, Caleb, and Daniel Prue live in a small trailer with four other children, but will be getting a new Habitat for Humanity bungalow.

A family of seven living in a small trailer in Coventry is going to get a brand new house, thanks to Habitat for Humanity.

In the Northeast Kingdom, Habitat is looking for mobile homes in disrepair, and replacing them with small, energy-efficient bungalows. Daniel and Elisabeth Prue, of Coventry, will be the first clients to benefit from this new approach to affordable housing.

They live with their five children and two rambunctious dogs in a trailer that’s way too small for them. It overlooks a bay off Lake Memphremagog near the state airport at Coventry. They own the pastoral land, but the aging trailer is far from beautiful. And, as Elisabeth admits as she shoos dogs away to make room for visitors from Habitat, it’s really cramped.

Credit Charlotte Albright / VPR
A trailer owned by Daniel and Elisabeth Prue of Coventry will soon be replaced by a new bungalow built with volunteers with Habitat for Humanity.

In the tiny kitchen she’s baking bread for her husband’s church. He’s a pastor, and holds two other jobs, working half time on his dad’s farm, and as an artificial inseminator for livestock.

“We might not have a lot of money but we have a lot of riches in other ways, we have great friends and family,” says Daniel Prue, stroking the head of his five-year-old son Caleb as he watches TV.

A lot of those friends and family are volunteering to build the Habitat for Humanity house that the Prues have been chosen to get. Elizabeth says they moved into this trailer to pay off school and car loans.

“We put this on our land so that we could get out of that debt,” she explains.

Daniel adds, “The way the economy is ... we wanted to be able to go into a house with very little or no loan.”

Habitat's typical Bungalow design will be a two-bedroom house of less than 800 square feet, priced at about $50,000. Applicants must have an income 70 percent less than the county median income.

With Habitat, they will take on a loan, but it will be interest free, and the house will be very affordable.

Many of the building materials will be donated or discounted, and the building will be energy efficient. Bruce Starbuck manages this project for Habitat. He and a colleague from the Upper Valley chapter stop into the trailer for a quick chat after they unload a stack of blue insulation.

Credit Charlotte Albright / VPR
Don Derrick, Upper Valley Habitat for Humanity, and Bruce Starbuck, Northeast Kingdom chapter, are helping a Coventry family build a home to replace their aging trailer.

Daniel Prue tells him that his church congregation is eager to sign up for the construction work crews.

“We always look for a family that has good community ties and the Prues are definitely that sort of folks,” Starbuck says.

Because the Prues have a large family, Habitat for Humanity will help them build a three-bedroom house. But Habitat’s more typical Bungalow design will be a two-bedroom house of less than 800 square feet, priced at about $50,000. Applicants must have an income 70 percent less than the county median income.  

This story was originally published with the headline Northeast Kingdom Families To Get Bungalows From Habitat For Humanity. 

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