By Leah Ballard | Habitat for Humanity of Archuleta County
As many builders can attest to, infrastructure costs are a common challenge when it comes to building affordable housing. This was one challenge Habitat for Humanity of Archuleta County faced early in the building process this year on North Pagosa Boulevard.
We had two major projects to complete before starting on the two homes we are building: adding a cul-de-sac to accommodate the driveways and a sewer mainline. Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District provided materials for the sewer line and our excavator is contributing discounted excavation services to get both jobs done.
With that infrastructure in place, the next step was foundations for the modular homes and garages. Once again, a local contractor stepped in with an abundance of generosity to complete the foundations. The stick-built garages went up with the help of local volunteers as we dodged much-needed thunderstorms.
Just like other builders, we are dealing with delays from supply chain issues. The expected delivery date for our modular homes has been moved to Sept. 20 — when we’ll be reaching out to local volunteers to help put the finishing touches (roof, siding, porches) on the homes.
Amber and Jennifer, our future homeowners, and their families have started their “sweat equity” hours, getting a lesson in construction. When Amber came in to sign her USDA mortgage loan documents, she was thrilled with what she was learning on the build site, commenting, “That jack hammer is a lot harder than it looks!”
Habitat future homeowners are required to contribute 250 hours of “sweat equity” in building their home alongside our volunteers. Their teenagers can also pitch in on these hours with age-appropriate building tasks or even babysitting for the younger children of this year’s homeowners. Homebuyer education hours also count toward this requirement, as well as attending any “good neighbor” classes hosted by the Pagosa Lakes Property Owner’s Association.
Habitat Archuleta homes are a combination of volunteer labor, subcontractors, in-kind donation of products and services, and homeowner sweat equity. Habitat families work alongside volunteers to build their home and pay an affordable mortgage.
These hours and efforts will be appreciated for generations by our workforce homeowners, the businesses who employ them and the children who rely upon them. Contact us to see how you can get involved. Starting Sept. 21, we’ll be on the job site Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Please call (970) 264-6960 or email office@HabitatArchuleta.org before you arrive so we can plan for how many hands will be on deck.