As we move into 2020, our organization is focused on the increasing prices in rent and utilities for families in our area. Right now the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $983.33 inside the center of Harrisonburg and $887.50 outside of the city before you include utilities. This increases to $1650.00 for a 3 bedroom rental inside the city center. Add this to the cost of living in our area, transportation and other factors, and the numbers increase. 

 

For many low-income families, the high cost of living and the high rent keep them in a cycle of poverty that our organization would like to break. This year, we’re focused on one theme: Double the Homes, Double the Hope. We’re hoping that we can continue to double the number of homes that we can sustainably build for families in need as we move into 2020. A large part of this is being able to build homes with greater density on the available land, meaning that we can increase the number of families served. 

 

For instance, taking a lot that is zoned for a single family home, we can request a density increase and rezoning that would allow us to build a duplex instead, effectively serving two families with the same amount of land that would have only served one. This also makes the entire project more affordable because it means that the same price of the land for one house would be distributed between two, decreasing the total cost for each homeowner. 

 

With this in mind we want to continue to move towards providing the “missing middle” housing by continuing to build duplexes for families that qualify for them. According to the missing middle housing website, this type of housing is defined as “a range of multi-unit or clustered housing types—compatible in scale with detached single-family homes—that help meet the growing demand for walkable urban living.” 

 

Many families are stuck with the idea that they will never be able to afford homeownership, and this has led to a sense of hopelessness and insecurity, as well as a likelihood of being taken advantage of when it comes to needing housing that is considered “affordable.” Low-income families that don’t have many options can end up in housing that is not properly cared for. This housing could be unsafe, unreliable, and unstable due to the constant threat of eviction, being too small for the family size, or not being maintained by the landlord, which leads to families that are not performing well at work or school, and develop subsequent health issues. 

 

Central Valley Habitat for Humanity wants to end this by building and providing families with safe, decent and affordable housing where they can build a home and a new sense of hope. By building the missing middle housing, we’re making sure that someone can become a homeowner even if they can’t afford the expensive housing stock currently available in our area. 

 

We have at least one duplex planned in the next year after we have just finished three duplexes at Roberts Ct. in Harrisonburg. The last of those three will be dedicated sometime in February/March of 2020. We are also currently working through a rezoning process to see if we can build more duplexes and serve more families affordably as we plan our 2020 builds. 

 

Double the Hope by Sponsoring our Banquet

 

If you would like to help us double the homes and double the hope in 2020, consider sponsoring our annual fundraising banquet in May. There are multiple tiers of sponsorship, or if that isn’t for you please consider becoming a table host. Every bit of what we raise at that banquet will go towards providing affordable housing in our area.

 

The banquet this year is on May 18 at the JMU Festival Center in Harrisonburg. We are currently taking sponsors and table hosts, as well as donations for our silent and live auction from local artists, businesses and vendors. 

 

If you would like to find out about our sponsorship tiers or donate an item for our auction, please contact our Community Outreach Coordinator Kirsten Lambert either by phone at (540) 828-6288 or by email kirsten@centralvalleyhabitat.org. Visit our banquet page on the website to find out more. 

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