Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Habitat for Humanity - Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Habitat for Humanity gets down to business
Group invites lawmakers, others to come out for weekend ‘build day’
By Blythe Terrell - Reported in the Steamboat Pilot & TODAY
Saturday, April 26, 2008

Strap on a hard hat
Interested in owning a Habitat for Humanity home or volunteering with the group? Call 871-6101 for information.

Steamboat Springs — Habitat for Humanity of Colorado called on volunteers and others for a build day last weekend, “just to see how many hammers we could get swinging,” said Shelly Flannery, executive director of the Routt County branch. About 30 people participated in the April 19 event in western Steamboat Springs, where the organization is building a duplex, Flannery said. The group invited volunteers and lawmakers to the build day to raise awareness about Habitat for Humanity’s efforts, she said.

“Habitat for Humanity organizes the day each year and tries to get elected officials and people who put in place regulations that allow or disallow affordable housing,” Flannery said.
The organization’s volunteers build homes for families that make 60 percent or less of the area median income. According to city figures, that number is about $45,420 for a family of four.
The families buy the homes through deed-restricted, no-interest mortgages. They also must put in “sweat equity” — physical work on their own and sometimes others’ Habitat homes, Flannery said. That brought out the Archuleta family, who will buy a home that Routt County Habitat plans to build in Hayden, Flannery said. Melissa Kerbs and Marissa Jaime will buy the Steamboat duplex for their families.

State Sen. Jack Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs, was among those who visited the site April 19. Taylor toured the home with his wife, Geneva. He said he was impressed by the progress at the site. “I just think that when people get together like that, basically anybody who wants to come in can put a hammer in their hand, someone will tell them what to do, and they’ll do it,” he said. “They move along, get stuff done.” Flannery said the group plans to finish the duplex in the first part of July and then get to work on the Hayden house. Habitat is looking at two more sites in Steamboat but has not finalized anything, she said. “We’ve got some ideas,” Flannery said. “It’s just a matter of trying to contact people and kind of put a bug in their ear. We’re at the very beginning of negotiations with two sites … and it’s looking good.”

Once the group has its plans squared, it will start taking applications. Any family whose combined income is less than 60 percent of the area median income is encouraged to apply, she said. Habitat for Humanity will release details and provide that required income figure, which changes, Flannery said. The group’s activities are particularly important in a place like Steamboat, where the cost of housing is high, Flannery said.
“If there wasn’t a Habitat out there, there’s no way the Archuletas and others like them would know what it’s like to own a home,” she said.

­— To reach Blythe Terrell, call 871-4234
or e-mail bterrell@steamboatpilot.com

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