Habitat for Humanity breaks ground on 63-home development

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SHERIDAN, Colo. -- Habitat for Humanity has started work on its largest development so far. And it couldn't come at a better time with rents and home prices continuing to skyrocket.

The group broke ground on a 63-home community near West Hampden Avenue and South Lowell Boulevard on Thursday morning. Sheridan Square will feature duplexes and triplexes.

They start at $168,000 for a two-bedroom unit. That’s less than half the median home price in Denver, which is nearly $400,000, according to the organization.

A five-bedroom unit starts at $255,000.

"It’s important today, with the need for affordable housing being greater than it's ever been before, that hardworking families have the opportunity to have a good home and invest in their future," said Heather Lafferty, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver.

Habitat for Humanity said it will take about 40,000 volunteers to build the energy-efficient homes over the next four years.

The development will be called Sheridan Square and will be located at the former site of Fort Logan Elementary, between West Kenyon Avenue and West Lehigh Avenue and South Irving Street and South Knox Court.

The 4.35-acre development will include a small public park. Habitat for Humanity said Sheridan Square will provide “stable, affordable, and permanent housing to approximately 130 adults and 225 children.”

Each home will have tile and carpet throughout, oak cabinets, EnergyStar appliances, in-unit Whirlpool washer and dryer and energy-efficient windows, according to the website.

"We have people here that are filled with excitement, and that's the excitement of having the American dream," Sheridan Mayor Dallas Hall said.

One of those families is Fadia Nassar, who moved to Colorado from Jordan with her family seven years ago.

"For a new life because we love America," she said.

Seven people live in a three-bedroom rental in Denver -- with their three children sharing rooms. Their 17-year-old daughter shares a room with her 18-year-old brother. And their 7-year-old son sleeps with his parents. Nassar’s 92-year-old father-in-law has his own room.

"Give the kids the chance to be in their own room," Nassar said about what makes her excited to own a home.

The four-bedroom house with zero interest means they will no longer be prisoner to rising rents.

"They raise it more and more. You know, that's why I’m afraid, we cannot pay more," she said.

She said her landlord raised her rent this year from $1,000 to $1,200 a month. They'll pay, in part, with sweat equity -- each pouring in 200 hours of work on their home.

"That key represents not just the ability to unlock the front door but the opportunity to unlock a much brighter future," Lafferty said.

Habitat works with families who earn between 35 percent to 80 percent percent of the area median income, which is roughly $45,000 for a family of four. Most of the 63 homes are still available.

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