Did you know your local La Plata County Habitat is a member of Local First? We are an independent 501 (c)3 with all of our Board members residing in La Plata County and providing independent decision making on the needs of our local community. Since 1994 we have been building affordable low-income homes for current workforce, veterans, persons with disabilities and our aging populations. Our home OWNERS pay a mortgage equivalent to 30% of their monthly income; thus, are able to live within wages that are often not livable wages. Mortgages range from 20-38 years and often are in deed restricted areas to allow for future sales into similar low-income populations. Currently, 56.5% of our wage earners in La Plata County fall within our local Habitat income eligibility requirements. A crisis in our community. As building needs rise for second homes and smaller rental units, we are noticing fewer housing options for families.
Our local Board welcomes all households regardless of familial size, faith, gender, orientation or race. We serve current residents who have sources of income within our income guidelines between 30% – 60% Average Median Income. Applicants must meet several criteria including, but not limited to, ability to pay, inadequacy of current housing and willingness to partner. In addition, they receive pre and post financial literacy assistance and support from us throughout their mortgage life. Our organization seeks to empower and mobilize our partners toward self-sufficiency in a very challenging local housing market.
Presently, while our community struggles to address the problem, we have seen no financial support from our local governing bodies for actual increase of production through our model. To our knowledge, we are the only builders in our community building to accommodate the above population’s home ownership needs.
As an average, the population we serve, could only afford a $185,000 home. An example, a 4 person household earning the average wage of $32,000 would pay approx. $800/monthly for a mortgage through Habitat. However, most households of 4 require a 3 bedroom, 2 bath unit and rentals of that size run between $1250 – $2600/mo. in La Plata County.
Once households are selected, Habitat seeks to accommodate the design of the home to match the household size and any accommodations needed, within strict modest energy efficient guidelines.
We hope you will consider joining us locally to address this challenge with a pledge of support RESTRICTED to La Plata County. Our impact is only as effective as our local support from generous individuals, businesses and government bodies. Advocacy for “affordable” home ownership is also a way to support us as we continue to be the voice of a large portion of our population!
Local First has been a wonderful way for all of us to participate in the impact of our monies right here in La Plata County. As a Board of Director member since 2012, our Executive Director, Rachel Taylor-Saghie, can attest to the support other Local First members play in the success of our fundraisers. Over 70% of Local First businesses have supported our mission over the last five years! They are supporting local affordable home ownership through their contributions of services, food on the job site and silent auction items at our Hammers & High Heels and Wine Tasting events. By supporting those local businesses you are supporting affordable home-ownership here in your community! We are so thankful for their continued support of our mission and your continued support of Local First businesses.
Our economy relies on our workforce as spokes of our larger wheel providing the resources for tourism, health services, retail services, food production, government functions and educational needs. We value our population—by providing for its growth and sustainability.
Being a part of Local First has been our way of committing to the community in which we reside and supporting a growing population with an empowering solution.