Building Habitat

Building Habitat

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Patterson, Amber
On February 5, Habitat for Humanity of Gallatin Valley broke ground on the first of ten homes in the West Winds Subdivision behind Home Depot. “Habitat” hasn’t built a home in Bozeman for roughly a decade, but the need for affordable housing is real here—when applications came in, 90 people had indicated interest in a Habitat home in Bozeman.

“[We] don’t give the homes away,” said Deborah Schuerr, the group’s development director. Recipients have to volunteer 500 hours of their own time to build the house. They have mortgage payments too, but because volunteers do the construction and most of the building materials are donated (to the Habitat for Humanity Restore in Belgrade), the mortgage is greatly reduced. Land is purchased below market value, and in the case of the West Winds homes, Bozeman’s Community Housing Fund helped buy the land.

Three families will occupy the homes built in the first phase of construction. Regina Ohnspad, a single mom, heads one of those families. She is working at a daycare and raising two kids, one of whom has cerebral palsy. Her current home is not handicap accessible. Shari Curtis, who is also a single mom and is a librarian at MSU, will soon have a new home too, as will Josh and Cynthia Maxwell, who are raising two kids. Josh works at Dynojet Research. He and his family currently live in a 670-square-foot trailer with water damage and poor insulation.

To donate, volunteer, or for more information, contact Jennifer Frank, executive director, at 388-8225.
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