Routt County Habitat receives $90,000 grant |

Routt County Habitat receives $90,000 grant

Routt County group announces sponsor for Riverside neighborhood duplex

— The lot at 2750 Honeysuckle Lane now holds only a buttoned-up foundation blanketed by deep snow and surrounded by mud.

But Steamboat Springs High School junior Thomas Kelly said that come November, after thousands of volunteer construction hours, the Habitat for Humanity lot will become his home. It will be a place where he can come back to from college and visit his mother and younger brother Sean, a freshman at Steamboat Springs High School.

"The only bad thing is we have to be down in Denver for baseball this weekend and we will miss the first day of construction" on Saturday, Thomas said.

The Kelly family, Routt County Habitat for Humanity board members and Concordia Lutheran Church parishioners on Sunday joined hands and bowed their heads as they blessed the foundation of the Habitat duplex in west Steamboat Springs that workers will start to frame Saturday. Those who gathered for the blessing then plucked snow from the top of the foundation and initiated a quick and furious snowball fight. They thought it was a fitting way to celebrate a Sunday announcement that Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a Minneapolis-based financial services organization, will sponsor the duplex and cover $90,000 worth of the its construction cost.

"I just feel overwhelmed with gratitude and excitement for this to happen," Habitat Executive Director Jody Patten said about the new partnership and the duplex construction project. "It's a rare opportunity to do something so remarkable and permanent in two incredible families' lives."

Jeff Losh, a financial consultant with Thrivent, said the Steamboat project is the first ski town Habitat home Thrivent has funded. Since 2005, his organization has helped to construct 2,700 Habitat homes in the U.S. and internationally, according to a Habitat press release announcing the new funding partnership in Steamboat.

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Patten said the Thrivent grant adds to the more than $60,000 Habitat already has raised in Routt County since July, and joins an additional $15,000 commitment to the duplex from Steamboat's Concordia Lutheran Church, which is helping to build the home. She said Habitat still needs to raise about $120,000 through fundraisers and grants to cover the rest of the cost of the two-duplex unit.

"It is challenging in this economy to raise money," Patten said. "And what Habitat does takes big numbers."

The duplex will house two Steamboat families and is expected to be finished before the end of December. Habitat will host weekly volunteer construction hours each week, weather permitting, on Saturdays and Wednesdays until the project is complete.

"I'll definitely be part of the construction process," Thomas said after the blessing ceremony. "It's a lot of fun knowing this home is going to be built for us."

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