Habitat for Humanity helps combat housing crisis in Nevada County | TheUnion.com

Habitat for Humanity helps combat housing crisis in Nevada County

Two units are near completion in Habitat for Humanity's new 16-home neighborhood in Grass Valley. Twelve houses have already been built in the village and two more are in the pipeline.

Habitat for Humanity is finishing up construction on the last four units in its new 16-home neighborhood in Grass Valley, which gives low-income Nevada County residents a chance to own a home they've helped build.

The village is made up of simple, affordable homes built by volunteers and homeowners, who are each required to put 500 hours of "sweat equity" into their houses.

The organization recently purchased another property in Grass Valley where it plans to build five homes for low-income families.

Often, those kinds of projects take a long time to get up and running, according to Lorraine Larson, Nevada County Habitat For Humanity's development director. The majority of that time, she said, is spent fundraising to cover the cost of infrastructure and fees.

But a major donation Habitat for Humanity received this year will allow the organization to move forward with its new development much faster than expected, she said, which is crucial for the community as a housing crisis continues to grow in severity.

An anonymous donor gave the organization a house and property in Nevada City, which Habitat then sold for $280,000.

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Larson said the home itself was large and would be difficult for Habitat's low-income clients to maintain. The money from selling the house, she said, is much more valuable to the organization.

"This transformational gift couldn't have come at a better time, when the need for affordable housing is so critical," said Debbie Arakel, the organization's executive director, in a news release.

According to Larson, Habitat recently hosted two "application orientation" meetings for Nevada County residents interested in applying for homes through the organization. Over 200 people attended those meetings, she said, which demonstrated the need for affordable housing in the area.

"We are always aware of the tremendous need in front of us for decent, affordable shelter in this community," said Gordon Beatie, Habitat's fund development chair, in the release. "It is because of the generosity of this community that we can build as we are now, but with extraordinary legacy gifts like this we have the chance to accelerate our work, build our capacity, and help more people. We are honored and humbled in the face of this generosity."

Nevada County's Habitat for Humanity has built 32 homes to date in the area.

For more information about how to donate to the organization, contact Larson at lorraine@nchabitat.org or call 530-206-8100.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Pera, email mpera@theunion.com or call 530-477-4231.