Helping Tahoe housing a skate in the park
Tahoe-Truckee residents feeling the need to dust off their roller skates and take a spin around a rink, and support a good cause while they’re at it, should check out a fundraiser Sunday for Habitat for Humanity.
Coldwell Banker for Truckee-Lake Tahoe will host its third annual fundraiser for the Nevada County chapter of Habitat for Humanity, and this year’s theme is roller skating at the Village at Northstar.
The family-friendly event, which takes a spin from the skating craze of the ’80s, will donate 100 percent of the proceeds to the Habitat’s Nevada County chapter, whose volunteers have built 14 homes for 63 people since the chapter’s founding 11 years ago.
“I think [Habitat for Humanity] is a wonderful organization,” said Jennifer Boehm, a Coldwell Banker Realtor who is coordinating the event. “These are the people that came in behind Katrina and did housing. It’s a global organization [that] works towards eliminating poverty housing worldwide.”
Last year, the Tahoe event raised $6,000 for housing, Boehm said. This year, coordinators are hoping to match, and perhaps exceed, that total.
The fundraiser is part of a national drive sponsored by Coldwell Banker, which has raised $1.5 million for the organization, Boehm said.
Of the 14 homes that Nevada County chapter volunteers have built, all are located in the western portion of the county, said the chapter’s Associate Director Kathy McDaniel. But the local group intends to grow, and hopefully address housing needs in the county’s eastern communities in the near future.
“I know that’s something that a lot of the folks in that part of the county would like to see,” McDaniel said. “We would like to do that, too.”
Sponsoring a fundraiser at Northstar is how local communities in the Tahoe-Truckee area can support the organization, Boehm said.
“We’re trying to participate here on a local level, even though we’re not building in our back yard,” Boehm said. “We’re still trying to participate in this national drive to support [Habitat for Humanity].”
Acquiring land to build Habitat homes has become the biggest challenge to expanding east, McDaniel said.
“From what I understand, land is much more precious around the Truckee and Tahoe area,” she said.
For previous home projects, land was donated or sold at below-market rates to Nevada County Habitat. In another project, the Nevada County chapter purchased an in-fill lot, remodeled the existing, small structure, and sold it at market value. The chapter then used the profit to split the parcel six ways and build five Habitat homes, McDaniel said.
“We try to look at creative ways to find land that’s not too expensive, or work out some kind of deal [with] the owner,” she said.
With fees, permits, materials and minor subcontracting, one Habitat home costs approximately $165,000. Habitat sells the home to selected families for that price, with a zero-percent interest mortgage paid back over 30 years. Habitat does not make any profit from its sale of the homes, McDaniel said.
A family selection committee chooses the candidate homeowners. Three basic qualifications include an income that is at 60 percent or lower than the median income for Nevada County, a need for better housing and a willingness to help build their home ” each family is required to put in 500 hours of “sweat equity.”
A Habitat re-store, or building and home-remodeling thrift store, opened last year in west Nevada County, McDaniel said. The store brings in “quite a bit” of additional funding for the program, enough to build at least one more home each year.
McDaniel said she hoped to see another store opened in eastern Nevada County that could generate more revenue and expand the program to Truckee, she said.
“I know that there’s a big need for affordable housing in [the Tahoe-Truckee] area,” McDaniel said. “Even though we haven’t had a presence in the eastern part of the county as of yet, I do think that [a re-store] is eventually going to help get [Habitat] there.”
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