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Habitat seeks more land

With the sixth and final Habitat for Humanity home going up in Oak Harbor’s Red Wing development, officials are busy looking for more land on North Whidbey Island.

“We’re in desperate need of more land,” said Karan Reed, director of Habitat for Humanity of Island County. Once construction of the latest home is complete, the organization won’t have any other property lined up for construction even though there is a family currently waiting to build their new home.

Reed said that land on the island is expensive and the high price tag makes it’s difficult to provide affordable homes for the participating families.

Currently, Habitat’s south end chapter acquired two lots in Teronda West on Central Whidbey Island but Habitat doesn’t have any lots available around Oak Harbor.

The most recent house in Oak Harbor will go to Desiree and Kayla Sanders, who are staying with friends while their new home is built. To help with paying for the new home, the Sanders received $25,000 from the Wells Fargo Foundation, which is also sponsoring the construction of the new home. They have a pool of 50 employees who will help build the new home for Desiree and Kayla.

Reed said workers are digging to make room for the foundation, and she said the home construction should start in a couple of weeks.

She didn’t have a timeline on when the home will be complete. That depends on the number of volunteers. It typically takes nine months to build a home. She is hoping to recruit some local contractors to help out and speed up the process.

The Sanders’ house is the 15th one built by Habitat for Humanity of Island County. The group partners with families and local volunteers to build affordable homes in the community.

Prospective families have to meet three criteria to be considered for a home. They have to show a need, be willing to participate, and be able to make monthly payments.

Each family that applies is interviewed and goes through an assessment that covers their current living situation, their ability to provide the 250 hours of required “sweat equity” and their ability to financially pay for the home costs, taxes and insurance.

While Habitat officials look for new land, the family that will help build the future home is busy acquiring the volunteer hours needed to meet the sweat equity requirement. That is done through volunteering at the Our Habitat to Yours used furniture store and working to build other Habitat homes.

Reed said Habitat is talking to some people in the area, but she hasn’t lined up any new properties on North Whidbey yet.

For more information about Island County Habitat for Humanity, call 679-9444 or visir www.islandcountyhabitat.org.

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