Grand Foundation helps Habitat break new ground

Sky-Hi News staff report
Habitat for Humanity of Grand County is about the complete its second home on the seven adjacent lots it’s developing in Hot Sulphur Springs.
Martin Smith/Courtesy photo

Habitat for Humanity of Grand County hopes to double its building capacity in 2022 to respond to the acute need for affordable local housing, and a recent Grand Foundation grant of $9,500 will move the nonprofit home-building organization closer to that ambitious goal.

“This grant will help us meet the moment,” Habitat Board President Martin J. Smith said, referring to the affordable housing crisis in the county in the aftermath of the COVID-19 economic meltdown and the 2020 East Troublesome Fire. “We’re grateful to the Grand Foundation for recognizing the need and helping Habitat address it.”

The grant from the Board of County Commissioners’ Fund will support Habitat’s effort to “jump start” its next two homes, which should begin to rise this spring on a seven-lot parcel along US Highway 40 in Hot Sulphur Springs. Habitat began developing that site several years ago, and two homes already have been built there. The second of those is due for completion in the coming weeks.

Those homes are the most recent of the 13 homes the local Habitat affiliate has built since its founding in Grand County in 1999. With its small crew volunteers and the help of generous local contractors, Habitat historically has been able to complete one home about every 18 months.

Habitat’s current board of directors hopes to increase its volunteer base, step up its fundraising, simplify its design and construction processes, and complete the next two homes by spring 2023.

The organization plans to break ground simultaneously on houses No. 14 and No. 15 as soon as the ground is thawed, probably in April. Specifically, the Grand Foundation grant is intended “to get two Hot Sulphur lots excavated and foundations built for a fast start in 2022.”

“If we can get both of those houses under roof and sealed in before the weather turns cold next fall, we can focus on the interiors during next winter’s harsh weather,” Smith said. “The grant will help keep us on track to finish those houses sooner rather than later. It’s a huge boost.”

Habitat’s mission is to make home ownership possible for members of the Grand County community who otherwise might never get the chance — and who are willing to invest their own time and effort for the opportunity. Selected homeowners typically help build their homes alongside Habitat volunteers and contractors in return for a mortgage that’s significantly more affordable than a conventional loan.

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