Habitat, others help find people homes

Public-private partnerships are key to making home ownership attainable, Grand Junction Mayor Teresa Coons said Saturday at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore’s celebration of the fourth annual Habitat Builds Colorado Day.

Those partnerships already exist, but they often escape public notice, Coons said. For example, a local homeless coalition met recently to discuss fighting the stereotypes of who is homeless and surveying who is struggling to find shelter in the Grand Valley.

“We have to do more than just manage homelessness,” Coons said.

Given what partnerships have done for local health care attainability, Coons said, “There’s no reason we can’t do the same things for homelessness. And we are.”

Mesa County’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity has worked to get people homes since 1991. So far, they’ve helped 43 families reach that goal.

Although income requirements for Habitat participation mean most people that participate in the program are renting instead of homeless, Habitat grant writer and family support coordinator Jeannine Bechard said the program often helps guide families to other organizations in the community that can help them with unemployment or homelessness.

Those that do qualify for local Habitat for Humanity housing have to earn between 35 and 50 percent of the average median income in Mesa County and contribute sweat equity. They save money by using volunteer labor and donated materials for their new home and paying off a 0-percent-interest mortgage.

Three families will begin work on new Habitat houses in the next month or two. The homes will go on a subdivision site on D Road between 30 and 31 roads that eventually will hold 52 Habitat homes.


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