The Berkshire Eagle October 7, 2023
A Great Barrington postal worker wins lottery to buy $250,000 house. Now she and her family are helping others
By Heather Bellow
GREAT BARRINGTON — In what she described as “a miracle,” a postal worker and her family of five are the winners of a housing lottery that will allow them to purchase one of the few affordable homes in town.
The Butler Green family will now be able to purchase a freshly restored Edwardian-era house on Grove Street for $250,000, while working in Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity’s sweat equity program on other homes for those who also need help buying a house.
"I couldn't believe it when I was on Zoom and saw my number drawn,” said Precious Butler Green, who works for the U.S. Postal Service in Great Barrington. “I have been praying for this house since the first time I saw it, even in the shape it was originally in. We have tried to find a home for so long and this is just a miracle."
The three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath house, valued by the town at $440,000, was taken by the town for back taxes and given to the Affordable Housing Trust in 2021.
The trust then partnered with Habitat to restore the home with the help of hundreds of volunteers.
A fair marketing housing lottery began in August, geared for those whose incomes and family size qualified them to purchase the home through the program. In this case, it was residents whose income is 100 percent of the current area median income of $65,192.
Habitat builds homes on donated land with volunteers. As construction begins, selected families partner with the nonprofit, putting in 325 to 500 hours of labor alongside volunteers before buying the house through an affordable mortgage.
Home prices have soared in Great Barrington and much of the county, making the lottery win a coup for the family. There also is little housing availability overall and mortgage interest rates have shot up in an economy that has already put basic needs out of reach for many.
Precious Butler Green won a housing lottery to purchase an affordable home in Great Barrington through Habitat for Humanity. Now she and her family are helping build Habitat homes for others.
PHOTO: BEN GARVER — THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE
As part of the lottery, Butler Green and her family will complete Habitat’s sweat equity program by volunteering to help build other homes. The family is currently working on a house on Robbins Avenue in Pittsfield.
The town took this Grove Street house for back taxes, then worked to renovate it and turn it into one of the town's few affordable homes. Precious Butler Green, who works for the U.S. Postal Service, won a lottery to purchase the home.
PHOTO: CENTRAL BERKSHIRE HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
Habitat will also provide Butler Green with a financial coach to guide her through home ownership best practices to ensure her family’s success, the nonprofit said.
Carolyn Valli, CEO of Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, said Green was one of the first applicants to arrive at the Grove Street house when Habitat began cleaning out the property. In total, seven families from Central and Southern Berkshire County successfully applied to purchase the home and take part in the lottery.
The nonprofit ranks applicants based on household size “to maximize the use of the three-bedroom home.”
Valli said those families that came in second and third in the lottery are automatically eligible for home purchases at Habitat’s other Great Barrington project off North Plain Road. That plan involves 20 homes and townhouses.
There are also Habitat homes going up in Dalton and Pittsfield.
Heather Bellow can be reached at email@example.com or 413-329-6871.
Precious Butler Green, Derek Green Sr. and Tyler Green arrive at the Robbins Avenue Habitat for Humanity project to work as part of the sweat equity program by working on other homes being built by Habitat, after the family won a housing lottery to purchase an affordable home in Great Barrington.
PHOTO: BEN GARVER — THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE