LINCOLN CITY — With two new lots transferred from county ownership to Habitat for Humanity Lincoln County, Habitat is set to begin construction on two new homes sometime in the next year.
However, before the foundation is poured and the building begins, the organization’s workers and volunteers have to clear the land first.
“We’ll clean this all out this year,” said Lucinda Taylor, director of Habitat for Humanity Lincoln County. “It’s creating a haven for critters and the neighbors aren’t happy with that. There’ll be a little bit of excavation before we begin laying the foundation and such.”
While Habitat for Humanity officials plan to have the foundations for both homes poured early next year, before any construction starts, Taylor hopes to have at least half of the cost of construction through fundraising efforts — pretty standard for the organization.
“We continue to fundraise as we build so we can pay as we go,” she said.
The effort to build two new homes to house low-income families in the community is just one push to supply the ever-increasing demand for affordable housing in Lincoln County. The two lots Habitat for Humanity plans to construct homes on were transferred from Lincoln County in September and are meant to house families who have fallen on hard times in the community.
“Research has shown Habitat homeowners have better health outcomes because they don’t have to stress out about their home,” Taylor said. “They don’t have housing anxiety or instability. They can look at better education opportunities so they can have better jobs and better incomes.”
Children, similarly, benefit from Habitat homes. Taylor said they do better in school, which sets them up for college or career. That stability, she added, can have a generational impact.
“They don’t have to worry about if the rent was raised so much that they have to move,” she said.
The new director, who started in her position in January, said the organization is advertising the yet-to-be-constructed homes all over the county. Families who get a Habitat for Humanity home can’t make more than 80 percent of the area’s median family income, and they have to be able to afford a mortgage payment.
“They have to have a financial history that shows they will be able to maintain a mortgage,” Taylor said. “We don’t give the homes away, they purchase them. That mortgage has to cover the taxes, insurance and some principal that comes back to us to help us with the next build.” The organization then picks members of the community for a committee, who work together to interview families and do home visits. The committee then recommends potential homeowners to the Habitat for Humanity board members, then approve the next Habitat homeowners.
Floor plans for the new Habitat homes won’t be picked until after a family is selected so as to build a home that works for that family. After a family purchases the home, they will own the house, but not the property the house is on. However, they still build equity, and if they ever decide to sell, a portion of the appreciation goes toward the seller and a portion goes to Habitat for Humanity so as to keep the price of the house down for the next homeowner, Taylor said.
Until then, volunteer labor and material donations are very much needed, Habitat workers said. When asked if there’s a big-ticket item on his wish list, Construction Manager James Farlin said the foundation is one of the biggest items.
“The structural work for the foundation would be huge,” Farlin said. “That’s going to be the main cost on this one. It’s going to be a big cost because of the elevation of the site, but it’s a big cost in any house.”