Housing authority breaks ground
June 10, 2005
The Yampa Valley Housing Authority broke ground June 1 on a series of affordable homes in Oak Creek.
Barbara Swissler, office manager for the YVHA, said the event was well-attended and that all the families were present. Representatives from the offices of U.S. Rep. John Salazar and Sen. Ken Salazar also attended.
“Every family took turns with the shovel and saved a little dirt for their scrapbooks,” she said.
Elizabeth Black, YVHA director, congratulated each family and told them that they now have an opportunity to build new memories and new lives in the Oak Creek community.
The YVHA began the affordable housing project more than a year ago, and families began applying for the program in the fall. The project started with a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant, and families applied for individual USDA loans. Six families, two from Oak Creek and four from Steamboat Springs, were selected for the project.
Swissler said the families essentially are building their homes and their neighbors’ homes. The families are required to put in 30 hours of work a week on the project. No one can move in until all the homes are completed.
The families are guided by the YVHA and have been provided several training sessions. Only the work on foundations, electrical wiring and plumbing has been contracted to outside workers. Building the rest of the houses is left to the families.
Because of the weather and poor soil conditions, the project already is two months behind schedule. Heidi Nunnikhoven, the project manager, hopes to get the foundations set next week and be finished with the project in December.
Four single-family homes and one duplex are being built on 10 lots on Grandview Avenue in Oak Creek.
“We’re glad that they’re digging deeper roots with their homes and will be investing in their own community,” Swissler said.
Nunnikhoven estimates that the families are paying $50,000 to $60,000 less than the appraised $190,000 value of the homes because they are putting in the work.
“It’s an opportunity for these people to get houses where they never would have been able to before,” Nunnikhoven said.