Habi­tat to build 6 homes in Hanover com­mu­nity

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - BUSINESS - BY ALEXAN­DRA CLINE acline@times­dis­patch.com (804) 649-6349

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.

DANIEL SANGJIB MIN/TIMES-DIS­PATCH

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...

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