Habitat for Humanity to build 50 homes on Ridge
October 2, 2008 · Updated 2:50 PM
SNOQUALMIE _ Low-income families will soon be able to
own homes on Snoqualmie Ridge.
Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company, the city of Snoqualmie and
Habitat for Humanity have joined to build 50 houses for families who would
otherwise not be able to live in the Valley.
Snoqualmie Mayor Randy "Fuzzy" Fletcher said he and
council members got involved with Habitat because they wanted the city to
have housing options for people in all income brackets. Currently, homes
in the Snoqualmie Ridge community cost anywhere from $150,000 to
$1 million. Weyerhaeuser donated 10-plus prime acres of land as part of
an agreement to provide low-income housing in the master-planned
"We've watched housing prices skyrocket in the Valley and were
concerned about where ordinary folks were going to live," Fletcher
said. "Now [there will be] 50 homes that are really affordable for people in
the area who are making a regular income."
The reason these houses are affordable is because Habitat sells
the homes at cost and then leases the land to the homeowner.
Habitat, a Christian housing organization that builds homes with
volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, sells the houses to
qualified families at no profit. Each home costs an average of $42,250 and is
financed with a no-interest loan. Mortgage payments average $600 and
go into a revolving fund used to build more houses.
Groundbreaking at the Ridge was held early last month and the
project is in the beginning phase where crews are grading and constructing
A community center should be started this fall and will serve as a
command post for the development. According to Jean Ann French,
director of resources for Habitat, the foundations will be laid next spring and
20 houses will be built over a three-week period next summer. The remaining
30 will be built at a slower pace and all homes will comply with Ridge
Volunteers will be enlisted to help with construction, and French is
seeking a "sticks and bricks" building
supplies sponsorship for each home. Buck and Gordon, a Seattle-based law
firm, has already committed to a $60,000 sponsorship.
"I'm amazed at the participation on the individual level, [people]
who ask to be involved," French said.
"Not only do they give us their cash dollars, but they bring us their time
and their talent."
Puget Sound Energy (PSE) is also donating something to the project
free electrical and gas hookups. PSE Community Relations
Manager Denny Lensegrav heard about the Humanity development and
wanted his company to get involved, so he met with city officials to find out
what could be done.
"The focus was what we could do for the project, not what it could
do for us," he said. "We are very happy to be involved."
With free energy hookups, volunteers, supplies and a low price,
these houses now need residents.
Homeowners are chosen on the basis of need, the ability to pay (a
family of four would have to make less than $32,900) and willingness to
partner with Habitat.
Family members must complete 500 hours of "sweat equity" by
working on other Habitat projects or doing office work. In order to qualify,
applicants must have lived or worked in the Snoqualmie Valley Preston,
Duvall, Carnation, Fall City, North Bend and Snoqualmie for one year. Five
of the homes will be built to accomodate a disabled family member.
French pointed out that the homes are a hand-up, not a handout;
but sometimes the perception of Habitat homeowners is wrong.
"These deserving families are people that we come into contact
with every day," she said. "These are
the people who work the foundation jobs of our city office staff, retail
store managers these are nice people doing good work, but the jobs
aren't paying enough. Not everyone earns $100,000 a year, yet they should
be allowed to live in our city," French added.
This will be one of the largest Habitat projects in the world
because of the amount of land donated and number of houses built.
Weyerhaeuser has worked with Habitat many times and has donated more than $1
million in cash and building materials in the last decade, as well as provided
"It's a fantastic project," said Weyerhaeuser spokesperson
Frank Mendizabal. "From our perspective, its a win, win, win situation; for
the people who will live there, for the community to provide
affordable housing, and for the Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company to continue
its participation with Habitat for Humanity."
Anyone interested in applying for one of the homes must attend one
of three meetings. Two will be held at Mount Si High in Snoqualmie, one
at 7 p.m. on May 16 and the other at 9 a.m. on May 20. The third meeting
will be held at Tolt Middle School in Carnation at 2 p.m. on May 21.
For more information, call (425) 869-6007, Ext. 238.