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Steamboat Magazine

Habitat helps Steamboat families to build their own homes

12/01/2003 01:00AM ● By Anonymous

Habitat helps Steamboat families to build their own homes

Affordable housing and resort communities go together like polyester pants and Prada. In Steamboat Springs, the Regional Affordable Living Foundation (RALF) and Habitat for Humanity are working to foster a family environment in an increasingly exclusive community.

Last summer saw the first residents move into West End Village, a new residential community designed for first-time homeowners with moderate incomes. At least half of the homes have been sold with deed restrictions, put in place by RALF to assure that the homes will remain affordable for the foreseeable future.

As part of this innovative project, RALF gave three lots to Habitat for Humanity, which is in the process of building a duplex in this west-side neighborhood. It's the international organization's second project in Steamboat; Habitat built a single-family home two years ago. It is owned by a schoolteacher, his wife and four children.

Two families were selected for participation in the duplex project: one is a single mother with two kids, and the other is a young couple with a 3-year-old daughter and 3-month-old son. Both are required to invest at least 350 hours in "sweat equity" in their new homes. (They'd already exceeded that number when the duplex was being framed.)The community turned out in force to help, too.

More than 300 people from churches, civic groups and local government volunteered at least one hour of time at the building site. Many have donated far more than that. Jim Ballard, president of Routt County Habitat for Humanity, is an example. "I felt that I've been blessed," he says. "I wanted to give something back to the community." Habitat is in need of additional volunteers and funds to complete the project. For more information, call Jim at 871-9276.