Habitat for Humanity gets 2 new properties
The Moffat County Chapter of Routt County Habitat for Humanity will host an open meeting at 5 p.m. Thursday at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 630 Green St.
Almost a year ago, the Moffat County Chapter of Routt County Habitat for Humanity was hoping to have a property donated to it so group members could begin building a new project to improve housing opportunities in Craig.
Instead, they got two.
In the past six months, Habitat has received a property on Breeze Street and the old Simmons Rooming House in the 700 block of Yampa Avenue, catapulting the nonprofit organization into plans for the upcoming year.
Secretary and treasurer Vicki Burns said the first property, a one-bedroom rental property on Breeze Street, came with deed restrictions.
"It came with a few restrictions to hold on to the house as a rental for two to three years," Burns said. "We have to keep it as an income-producing source. We'll use funds to pay for things in acquiring and building new projects."
Using the rental property as a source of income will be important to the continued success of Habitat, Burns said.
Burns said since the group's first house was completed, the local Habitat organization has been on a kind of hiatus.
There have been many changes in the volunteers and leadership in the organization.
However, Burns thinks the project was a success.
"The house was a major undertaking for a bunch of people who had no clue as to what they were doing," she said. "But we came out with a great product."
When the house was complete, the tumbling economy took its toll on Habitat and other nonprofits that subsisted on funding and donations.
"With the economy what it is and being in a small community, there are only a few people you can go to and continually ask for donations," Burns said. "There are so many organizations, whether its Boys & Girls Club, Young Life, the American Cancer Society, and they're all worthy organizations that need to be contributed to, but when resources are so small, someone has to be left out."
Habitat bought its first property from The Memorial Hospital and is still paying off the mortgage.
The group will build on a new house on the site of the Simmons house.
"That's why this rental property will be so relevant to us," Burns said. "It's building on a resource we already have."
The previous owner of the Simmons house found that a part of the foundation wasn't up to code. Instead of investing in the repairs, he decided to donate the site to Habitat for Humanity.
The group already has had several work days on the property, enlisting the help of jail inmates to help clean out the house and keep the yard looking presentable, Burns said.
Burns said Habitat hopes to have the house demolished or burned down before winter.
"We want to have level ground before winter so we can start working on architectural plans," Burns said. "We hope to start the project in the spring."
Burns said the chapter had never obtained a property through donation before.
"It's phenomenal," she said. "It shows people are actually paying attention to the fact there is a need for affordable housing."