Momentum is building behind an affordable 11-unit housing development in Live Oak.
First-time home-buyer families have now moved into the first two houses at Habitat for Humanity’s Rodeo Creek Court development, where things are off to a good start.
“It’s going really well,” says Satish Rishi, CEO for Habitat for Humanity Monterey Bay. “The families moved in. They’re feeling grateful and getting settled.”
Habitat for Humanity has also chosen the applicants for the next two homes, which are under construction. And now, local families have a shot at the next half-dozen homes. The nonprofit is opening up applications for the next six homes on Rodeo Creek Court.
Habitat Monterey Bay is hoping to get more housing applications for new units than it ever has before. Even though Rishi knows that there’s enormous need for affordable housing in Santa Cruz County, Habitat only received 20 applications in the initial application window. And not all of those worked out.
Some households made too much money—more than 80% of the local area median income (AMI)—to qualify. Others made too little—less than 60% of AMI. And then, some applicants were too sluggish in dotting their I’s and crossing their T’s.
“The ones who were in the middle—between 60% and 80% of AMI—some of them were slow in providing the paperwork, or they didn’t have the credit,” Rishi says. “There’s a culling process.”
At the end of the day, Habitat had four qualified applicant families—enough to fill the first four homes. Rishi hopes that Habitat can get enough applicants this time around to create a lottery and randomly choose the lucky households from a pool of qualified families. To do that, Rishi says Habitat is upping its outreach efforts, including through the media and local schools.
In order to prove eligibility, qualified applicants should demonstrate their need for housing, verify their ability to pay an affordable mortgage, and show their willingness to put in sweat equity. Each chosen family will partner with Habitat to help build their new home.
Interested applicants should first register for a virtual application orientation, which will walk potential applicants through the process, and allow them to ask questions.
For more information, visit habitatmontereybay.org/applications.