Habitat for a family | CraigDailyPress.com

Habitat for a family

Organization debuts first project at open house event this weekend

Collin Smith

— A house has been built.

The Moffat County Habitat for Humanity chapter is hosting an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday and noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at 745 Yampa Ave., where its first project home stands near completion.

Construction began in March 2006. The process has included donations from the community and more than 1,000 hours of work from the receiving family themselves.

All that work has made Sara and Michael Burkett feel a positive sense of ownership over the house.

“(Michael) did all the drywall, the painting, the finishing,” Sara said. “We saw the ad in the paper and thought it was a really good cause.”

The Burketts owned a home in Fort Collins about four years ago. After they sold that, the family – five children strong, with three living at home – moved to Craig, where Sara grew up and her parents live.

“Eventually, yeah, we wanted to buy a home,” Sara said. “But due to circumstances beyond our control, and the market going up the way it did, we wouldn’t have been able to do that within five years.”

The Burketts are excited to move into their new house and stop renting, Sara added. The family has rented a three-bedroom trailer since moving to town.

The house stands where there used to be an old nursing home that was built onto a house, said Pat Jones, Moffat County chapter president. Contractors decided it would be better to demolish the actual house and remodel the nursing home addition because of structural issues.

Once the family moves into the house, they will pay the mortgage. Habitat for Humanity provides a no-interest loan that lasts long enough for the family to afford, Jones said.

“They’re a wonderful family and so deserving of a home,” Jones added.

Though Habitat is relatively new in Moffat County, there has been an affordable housing need in the community for some time.

“We saw a need for decent, affordable housing for families,” Jones said. “We’re about 65 percent of the way to becoming our own (Habitat) affiliate.”

The Moffat County Habitat chapter now operates under the Routt County affiliate. It has been hindered from becoming an independent affiliate because of a low population, Jones said.

The steering committee is in the process of compiling the appropriate paperwork, such as bylaws and project procedures, and expects to finish the application after its first home is done.

As for the open house this weekend, Jones is grateful for how far the community has taken the project.

“All the people that donated to the housing – everyone in town donated something, I think – should come by and see how far it’s come,” she said.

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