On April 18, Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County broke ground on its fourth affordable housing neighborhood at 4949 Sawyer Ave., Carpinteria.
A crowd of local community members, city and government officials and dignitaries, along with representatives from Habitat staff, board of directors and supporters gathered to celebrate the milestone.
They had the opportunity to meet the three families selected to live in the homes.
The Huerta, Lopez and Polunets families were chosen after a rigorous application process. All first-time homebuyers, they were selected from more than 80 applicants.
Habitat for Humanity selected the three final applicants based on their critical need for affordable housing, ability to pay a no-interest mortgage, and their willingness to partner with Habitat in the construction of their home.
“We have been dreaming of this for more than 20 years,” said Marisol Lopez, one of the future homeowners at Sawyer Avenue.
“For us, being Habitat homeowners means freedom, stability and of course a lot of happiness, because we will have our own home finally,” she said.
The three new Habitat for Humanity homes will be designed by local DMHA Architecture, and will be roughly 1,200 square feet and include a detached carport.
Upon completion of construction, the three families will purchase the homes from Habitat for Humanity with an affordable no-interest mortgage designed to fit within 30 percent of each family’s annual income.
Habitat for Humanity is able to build homes cost effectively through a unique model that leverages contributions of donations, building materials, land, volunteer labor and sweat equity.
Partner families buy homes from Habitat through interest-free loans, and Habitat carries the homeowner’s no-profit mortgage.
Habitat works with each partner family to ensure their shelter costs do not exceed 35 percent of their income, between 40 and 80 percent of area median income ($30,000-$60,000 a year for a family of four).