Habitat to build 6 homes in Hanover community
Hanover Habitat for Humanity held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday on a plot of land where six houses will be built near Ashland.
The actual clearing of the almost 4-acre plot on Hanover Avenue will likely begin later this fall, with construction on the homes potentially beginning in February.
Building six homes next to one another is unusual for Hanover Habitat, which usually constructs three to five homes a year. To build this development, known as Hanover Cove, the organization had to purchase two adjacent pieces of land last year.
“Land is so difficult to find that we follow every lead on affordable land we can,” executive director Linda Tiller said. “We usually don’t have access to pieces of property large enough.”
To help fund the project, Hanover Habitat received a $454,216 grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to cover infrastructure costs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service also will be providing loans to families to finance the actual home construction.
“There’s going to be six great homes that families are going to be able to move into, that kids are going to be able to walk down the street to this local (Henry Clay Elementary) school,” said Michael Urban, single family housing programs director for USDA Rural Development.
Families are currently completing the application process to live in the homes, which are typically priced around $150,000 to $165,000. Hanover Habitat is still accepting applications from interested families.
To qualify for a home, buyers must have a need for affordable housing, have the financial ability to make payments on the home, and have lived or worked in Hanover County for at least a year. They also must be willing to partner with Hanover Habitat to complete at least 200 hours of sweat equity.
“I envision it being a very supportive neighborhood for families who need that hand up, and not that handout,” said Kimberly Breeden, the director of family services. Breeden’s job is to find six qualified families to live in the subdivision.
Typically, Habitat for Humanity builds only a home or two in a certain neighborhood to maintain socioeconomic diversity.
Years ago, however, Habitat used to construct numerous homes next to one another on a single block, said Jane Helfrich, CEO of Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity, which serves the city of Richmond and Henrico and Chesterfield counties.
“We have communities in Richmond that were built many years ago that have 30 homes that look about the same, and everyone has the same income,” she said. “We like to build more in areas of opportunity.”
A major component of Habitat’s role in any community is ensuring that neighbors are happy with the new homes and residents.
“I’m excited that Habitat’s going to be building a nice community here, and we want to say welcome,” said Miriam Green, who attended the groundbreaking and lives near Hanover Cove.
Jay Grant with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (from left), Elizabeth Green and Roger Glendenning with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Linda Tiller, Hanover Habitat for Humanity executive director, broke ground...