Sunday, 14 August 2022

Habitat for Humanity receives $140,000 grant

CLEARLAKE – A Lake County Habitat for Humanity project is among several North Coast low-income housing projects named recently as recipients of affordable housing program grants.


Congressman Mike Thompson and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco announced that $572,545 in grants were awarded to three housing projects, including the Clearlake Habitat Housing Project II and III in Lake County, which received $140,000 in Affordable Housing Program funding; Palisades Apartments in Calistoga, which received $212,545; and the Transitional Opportunities Toward Independent Living House in Ukiah, which received $220,000.


The three projects are expected to create 52 new affordable housing units. The Affordable Housing Program grants will be leveraged to support total construction costs of $8.2 million on the three projects.


Since 2000, the First Congressional District has received a total of $5.4 million dollars in Affordable Housing Program grants that have helped finance 29 projects and create 677 new rental and 85 owner-occupied units, the Federal Home Loan Bank reported.


The bank reported that it delivers low-cost funding and other services that help member financial institutions make home mortgage loans to people of all income levels and provide credit that supports neighborhoods and communities. It's one of 12 regional banks in the Federal Home Loan Bank System.


Lake County Habitat for Humanity President Richard Birk said this is the third such grant the organization has received from the Federal Home Loan Bank, with all three grants totaling $260,000.


Birk said it's a highly competitive process to receive the money, with Habitat competing with about 100 other organizations. Habitat goes through the lengthy application process to the bank every two years for the grants.


The funds will be applied toward the construction of seven houses that Habitat now has in the development stages, said Birk. Permits on the houses will be submitted in the coming weeks, with completion expected in about a year and a half.


The grant will supply $20,000 to offset costs of building each of the houses, which cost about $70,000 to build when counting all costs – land, permits and materials, said Birk.


In turn, the grants help keep Habitat's no-interest mortgages low, in the $200 to $250 per month range, said Birk. “This will keep that mortgage payment down to where we can reach to a lower household income level.”


Habitat for Humanity targets families who earn 50 percent of the federally determined median income, said Birk.


The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department listed median income as $53,800 for a nonmetro area in California in 2008. That would mean a family would be eligible for the Habitat program if they earned around $26,900 annually.


Habitat plans to build four homes this year and five the following, he explained.


“We're just finishing up on our 10th home here in the county,” said Birk.


While Habitat's charter covers all of Lake County, all of the homes the organization has built so far have been in Clearlake, the center of the largest need.


Property owners in Clearlake also have been willing to donate land to Habitat. Birk added that the organization wants to branch out to other areas in the county.


The Federal Home Loan Bank provides one of the biggest sources of income for Habitat for Humanity's local chapter, said Birk.


A grant through U.S. Housing and Urban Development pays for Executive Director Lisa Willardson's salary, as well as for the group's construction manager, Habitat's only two paid staffers in Lake County.


Birk said the organization will always be volunteer-based, and is constantly looking for more volunteers. You don't need to work in construction; they also need bookkeepers and help in the office.


The group also wants to find more people who want their own homes. Birk said they're in the process of selecting five families for future building projects. Two of the families have already been chosen, he added.


Birk said Habitat also is working on creating formal partnerships with the county's and the city of Clearlake's redevelopment agencies to work on meeting housing needs.


He said he wants Habitat for Humanity Lake County to be the go-to nonprofit when it comes to providing housing, with the group's goal being to make a significant dent in the county's low-income housing needs.


If you know a candidate family for a Habitat for Humanity home, or if you would like to volunteer or otherwise offer your support, contact the group at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 994-1100.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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