Sunday, July 21, 2024

Habitat for Humanity undertakes ambitious housing initiative in Chelan

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CHELAN – Lake Chelan Valley Habitat for Humanity is actively engaged in constructing eight homes for eligible community members on the 600 block of Wapato Avenue in Chelan. This new development, known as Pumpkin Lane, is a cul-de-sac addition. The site consists of two parcels of land generously donated to Lake Chelan Valley Habitat for Humanity. Construction is currently underway, with plans to further divide the land. This division will facilitate the construction of a second duplex; one duplex has already been completed and is presently accommodating two families. Additionally, four standalone homes will be added to the complex.

Historically, Lake Chelan Valley Habitat for Humanity has typically been able to complete one housing unit per year, adhering to the minimum requirements set by Habitat for Humanity International. However, the current project represents a departure from their past endeavors, largely attributable to the availability of these particular land parcels.

Lake Chelan Valley Habitat for Humanity is a 501(c)(3) non-profit affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, an organization dedicated to increasing access to housing worldwide. Michelle Fanton, the Executive Director of Lake Chelan Valley HFH, discusses the criteria used for selecting beneficiaries, stating, "Habitat has three key criteria that we use to assess eligibility, and one of them is need. When we refer to 'need,' it's important to note that, in our community, most individuals have some degree of need. However, when Habitat assesses need, we are referring to a significant need. This includes not only a need for affordable housing but often signifies substandard living conditions. We are referring to situations where residents may lack drinkable water, face accessibility challenges due to disabilities, experience overcrowding in their homes, or endure inadequate living conditions. When we evaluate applications, we focus on factors such as the condition of the applicant's home or rental property. We consider aspects such as exposed wiring, lead paint, water quality, and heating availability. Sometimes people may not fully grasp the extent of need in our community."

Lake Chelan Valley Habitat for Humanity, Chelan Valley Hope, and Chelan Valley Housing Trust have initiated monthly meetings with the goal of involving more housing organizations in the assessment of community housing needs and resources. This collaborative effort may enhance the eligibility of individual organizations for grants and reduce redundant initiatives.

Nonetheless, rising material and labor costs, difficulties in securing consistent contractors and subcontractors, and evolving climate conditions affecting the provision of no or low-interest mortgages have significantly impacted the pace of housing projects. Fanton elaborates, "This has become a significant challenge for anyone involved in home construction or renovation, both individuals and organizations. Lake Chelan Valley HFH is currently focused on establishing relationships and devising an efficient and dependable building plan. An economy of scale is realized through collaboration with established builders who oversee multiple projects, as opposed to acting as our own contractor. This approach provides us with improved, more reliable, and cost-effective access to subcontractors, labor, and materials, ideally minimizing delays."

Katie Lindert: 509-731-3211 or katie@ward.media


 

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