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Indiana State Students Lay Foundation for New Habitat Home

6/6/2022

Habitat for Humanity of Montezuma County recently laid the foundation for its seventh home in May with the help of student volunteers from Indiana State University. This story is sponsored by Ute Mountain Casino and Keesee Motors

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Would you spend part of your summer vacation laying a cement foundation? That's what students from Indiana State University decided to do as part of their Southwest Colorado vacation. And Habitat for Humanity of Montezuma County benefited from their work. You are watching the "Local NEWS Network" brought to you by Ute Mountain Casino and Keesee Motors. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. About a dozen students from Indiana State University decided in May to stop in Montezuma County to pour a little love and a lot of cement into the foundation for a new Habitat for Humanity home in Cortez. The students were touring Southwest Colorado as part of a one-week summer alternative vacation program offered through Indiana State's Community Center for Engagement. And while they had fun touring Mesa Verde National Park, the San Juan National Forest, and Hovenweep National Monument, the students said volunteering on the community project was one of the highlights of their visit.

It was so fun.

It was interesting.

It was definitely-

Hard work.

Yeah, I don't think I've ever experienced anything like this but it was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. But I was just really happy to be out here with my friends now and just serving this community.

Habitat Executive Director Heidi Mitchell said their help was invaluable because the new foundation will allow the nonprofit to build its seventh home in Montezuma County while keeping construction costs in check. Construction prices and supply chain issues are having a negative impact on affordable housing projects. And it's one of the reasons why Habitat of Montezuma is taking a different approach with house number seven.

So we have partnered partnered with American West Homes here in Cortez, and they're going to do a manufactured home so we've got to get the foundation laid first before we can set the house. Working with the manufacturer, we're going to be around 210,000, which if we were to build a stick home would be probably three to 350,000.

The Habitat for Humanity chapter in Montezuma County was established in 2008. According to its website, the nonprofit has built six housing units and rehabilitated 18 homes in the area. Habitat builds homes for families with annual income equal to 30 to 60% of the area's median income. Families must demonstrate a good track record in paying rent and must be able to afford the mortgage payments. Each homeowner also must contribute 200 hours of volunteer labor. Couples contribute 400 hours total. Habitat also relies on community volunteers and service groups whose free labor offsets construction costs.

Affordable housing is a huge issue, and it's not just here in Montezuma County. It is across the nation. And actually I've talked to other affiliates even globally, and it is a worldwide problem actually just to have affordable housing. So what Habitat comes in and does is we help qualifying families meet those basic needs of affordable housing. Most of our mortgages are no interest so we are able to help those families actually have less mortgage than they are paying in rent.

Although the modular home will cut down on the amount of labor that will be needed, Mitchell says the project still needs volunteers to work on siding, painting, and other finishing touches. The house is expected to be completed this summer. If you'd like to volunteer or to make a donation, visit habitatmontezuma.org. Thank you for watching this edition of the "Local NEWS Network. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

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