Cary News

Habitat for Humanity helps immigrant family realize dream of home ownership

Manzoor Siddiqui was rarely still. His hands were busy either lifting wall frames or picking up nails and hammering while working with the volunteers to build his three-bedroom home.

It is the first house the Pakistani-born family man will own in the United States.

Siddiqui’s home will also be part of the first Habitat for Humanity build in Morrisville. The four homes under construction on Fairview Avenue are expected to be completed by the fall, said site manager Ed Rogers.

Although Habitat for Humanity of Wake County has been building homes in the area for more than 20 years, it has been difficult to find affordable and available land in Morrisville, said spokeswoman Kerry Celestini.

The nonprofit group managed to find four parcels and purchased the property last year, according to Wake County records.

Morrisville Mayor Jackie Holcombe, who was working at the site Saturday, said the Habitat homes were a good addition to the town.

“It means we get to welcome more new neighbors,” Holcombe said. “Neighbors who have really worked hard to become homeowners.”

Holcombe acknowledged that because a lot of property in Morrisville is commercially-owned or operated, smaller residential parcels are harder to find. Morrisville is landlocked between Cary, Durham, Research Triangle Park and Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

“The price of dirt is expensive,” she said. “It makes it tough to provide affordable housing.”

Siddiqui said without Habitat for Humanity he wouldn’t be able to afford a home for his family. His home and one other are being built by a crew of church members and volunteers. The other two houses on Fairview Avenue are described as a CEO Build and a Women’s Build.

Siddiqui, who rents a two-bedroom apartment in Cary with his wife and three children, applied for a Habitat home last year. At one point he thought he would get a home in Raleigh, which was unwelcome news.

He works at RDU as a bookkeeper for the Hudson Group, which operates retail stores out of the airport. Moving to Raleigh would have meant a longer commute.

Typically, Habitat for Humanity homeowners contribute about $1,500 as a down payment and pay about $600 per month on a 20-year mortgage. The mortgage is not to exceed 30 percent of the future owner’s household income.

Siddiqui said he was thrilled when he learned his family would get a home in Morrisville.

“We are happy,” he said. “My kids now, they all share one room.”

In the new house, his daughters, 13 and 2, will have their own room and so will his 11-year-old son.

Siddiqui, a former banker, moved to the Triangle two years ago from Pakistan’s capital Karachi at the request of his wife, a Pakistani-born American citizen. The couple came to the United States to give their kids more opportunities.

As part of Habitat’s first-time homeownership program Siddiqui is required to commit to 250 hours of “sweat equity” in volunteer hours either building his house or working with Habitat for Humanity. But Siddiqui would be out working on his future home even if it weren’t required.

“I’ve been here every moment,” he said. “This is a good opportunity. If you have your own house you feel better. It makes for a much better feeling.”