Coming no later than 2022, Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln County will have constructed two brand new homes in Lincoln City.
Recently, Habitat of Lincoln County was given a pair of vacant lots located in the Garden Estate subdivision of Lincoln City. The two lots sit side by side and were County acquired properties as a result of tax foreclosures.
Having tax foreclosure properties donated to local nonprofits is not uncommon statewide, but in Lincoln County, this is a new trend.
“This is the first time that we have received a foreclosed property like this, I believe it’s the first time that Lincoln County has been able to donate a foreclosed property to a nonprofit,” said Lucinda Taylor, executive director of Habitat Lincoln County.
The lots located in the north end of Lincoln City come to Habitat tailor-made for a build from the ground up, which has the Habitat team excited about a quick turnaround.
“The county was looking for pieces of property that would actually suit the need of nonprofits and these pieces of land work perfectly,” Taylor said. “The water and sewer is already in, it’s relatively flat, there aren’t any huge trees… these are ideal for Habitat and we haven’t received anything quite this fabulous.”
A big part of the acquisition of these properties was in part thanks to County Commissioner Kaety Jacobson. Jacobson also felt these lots were build ready and in a good neighborhood, which is why she pushed to donate them.
“It is a drop in the bucket of a huge housing issue,” Jacobson said. “However, as organizations and as individuals we need to ask ourselves, what can we do? Even if it is a drop in the bucket. This will help families.”
For this project, Taylor said the timetable starts with clearing out the foliage on the lot, which should be done by the end of the year. Then they plan to break ground this time next year or early 2021 and finish up by the end of 2021 or 2022 at the latest.
However, Taylor said there are a lot of variables for all their projects.
“We move a little slower partially because we need to do the fundraising,” Taylor said. “We’d like to have at least half of the cost of construction in hand before we start and then we continue to fundraise so that we can pay as we go.”
Taylor said they are also reliant on volunteer labor in most cases with unskilled laborers.
“A lot of times we’re working with unskilled laborers, but hopefully we have some skilled laborers too, and then we can teach them as the project progresses,” Taylor said. “We can take volunteers who have never touched a hammer to those who have built whole houses or villages of houses. We encourage everyone to volunteer.”
For Habitat homeowners, they are not only the beneficiaries of a new home, but also of valuable skills they will learn throughout the building process.
“A lot of our homeowners have something called sweat equity hours they put in, so one of the things we like to try to encourage is having them actually work on the house themselves so they’re learning those skills,” said James Farlin, Habitat Construction Manager. “Part of that is not only enabling them with a house, but also enabling them to take care of the house because they are owners of this property and after we turn it over to them, it’s their house to maintain.”
Habitat of Lincoln County is currently in the process of finishing up a project in Newport and will then be all-in on the Lincoln City build. Once they make headway on the Garden Estates build, Taylor said Habitat will then work closely with the county on finding more foreclosed properties.
“We’re really only one project at a time, but as we near completion on this project and we follow through on our plans than we’ll get with the county and begin looking for any foreclosed properties that would be a potential fit for us,” Taylor said. “I would hope that this is a partnership that lasts for a long time.”
Habitat will soon be taking applications for homeowners at the Garden Estates properties.
To learn more about Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln County, you can visit hfhlc.org.
“Our mission is to build affordable homes for low-income families, so this is a perfect marriage,” Taylor said.