Habitat for Humanity of Teller County opened the doors of the renovated Clock Tower Condos for tours on Giving Tuesday, and invited the community to support the ambitious housing project.
The nine-unit complex, rebuilt from the old, dilapidated Lofthouse motel in downtown Woodland Park, is moving closer to completion.
Giving Tuesday (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving) has become a popular time for non-profits of all kinds to ask for public support. Habitat for Humanity is a donation-supported volunteer organization that builds community by helping individuals and families with low and medium incomes to become homeowners. Over the years Habitat has built more than 30 in Teller County.
“Give from the heart,” said Jamie Caperton, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Teller County, to the small crowd that gathered in the parking lot of the condos for Tuesday’s event. She thanked the Habitat board of directors and her staff, and the Americorps NCCC volunteers who are helping with the condominium project during their six week visit in November and December.
The Americorps team is a group of 10 college students and recent graduates, ages 18 to 24, who are spending a year volunteering for service projects across the country. According to team leader Mason Meadows, the group came together from all over the United States. Young people who are interested in the program can learn more about it at www.Americarps.gov.
“We have set a new standard here,” added Caperton, referring to the renovation of the long vacant Lofthouse.“Habitat around the country is watching what we are doing here.”
Woodland Park Mayor Neil Levy also shared some brief comments.
“Today is Giving Tuesday. Whoever you give to, it doesn’t matter how much, we are always thankful,” he said. “This is a great project and the city will support it in any way we can.”
The Woodland Park City Council, at last week’s meeting, agreed to allocate nine multi-family water taps for the project.
Although the completion of the Clock Tower Condos has been delayed by purchasing and construction issues, Caperton expects that the water and sewer work on the condos will be finished by mid-December. Then they will be ready to do the interior work. All of the interior demolition and clean-up is done, and all traces of the internal structure of the original hotel are gone. The frames of the new rooms are up. Now electrical and plumbing features must be installed and the walls, ceilings, and floors must be finished. If all goes well, the first families could be moving in by the end of January.
Seven families are purchasing units and will eventually be living there. The families who will make up the new neighborhood are wonderfully unique, according to Caperton. They include a local female entrepreneur, a grandmother and her grandson, a single mother with two kids, a woman who has been commuting up the Pass for years to work but could not get housing here, and a ten-year Habitat volunteer. Two military veterans are applying for the last two units. The condos are in a great location within walking distance of schools, the library, and the Ute Pass Cultural Center, with a great view of Pikes Peak.
Two units will be left open to serve as transitional housing for future families waiting for long-term housing through Habitat. Woodland Park Community Church is partnering with Habitat to support the transitional housing. The units can be rented for up to a year while a family waits for their permanent home to be built.
Habitat’s goal in rehabilitating the Lofthouse is to help reduce the shortage of affordable rental and purchasable workforce housing in the community. According to Caperton, average rents in Woodland Park are $1,600 to $2,000 per month. Habitat will only charge $500 to $600 a month for rent or mortgage payments at the Clock Tower Condominiums.
In order for a family to qualify for housing assistance through Habitat for Humanity they must earn 30 to 60 percent of the area’s median income, which classifies them in the low to medium income bracket. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Qualifying families must complete a homebuyer education course and contribute 300 to 400 hours of ‘sweat equity’ on the construction of their future home.
If you would like to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Teller County. learn more at http://tellerhabitat.org/ways-to-volunteer/, or to apply for housing assistance, visit http://tellerhabitat.org/our-programs/home-ownership/how-to-apply/.
Residents and business owners can also support the Habitat effort by donating money or materials. Donations help pay for home construction costs and operating costs. When houses are sold the proceeds from the sales reseed the construction fund for future builds.
On Colorado Gives Day on December 6, you can donate to Habitat at www.coloradogives.org/HabitatforHumanityofTellerCounty . If you donate at this time, Habitat will have a chance to earn a percentage of a $1 million incentive fund contributed by the Community First Foundation and FirstBank.