By JOHN FLOWERS
BRISTOL — Even as it puts the finishing touches on its latest affordable housing project on North Pleasant Street in Middlebury, Habitat for Humanity of Addison County has already lined up two new parcels on which to erect homes for local, low-income families.
Habitat President Margaret Carothers confirmed on Thursday that the organization has purchased a 0.28-acre parcel off Pine Street in Bristol for $29,000, in the Bruce Ladeau/Jeanie MacDonough subdivision.
Habitat also recently bought a quarter-acre lot, for $40,000, within the Otter View Park project off Weybridge Street in Middlebury.
Carothers said she hopes construction can begin on the Bristol parcel this summer. The group has scheduled a meeting for this Friday, June 9, at 7 p.m. in Bristol’s Howden Hall, so that eligible families can hear about the project and determine whether they’d like to be considered for the home.
Similar meetings will be held on Saturday, June 10. The first is in Vergennes at 9:30 a.m. at the Vergennes Area Rescue Squad building and the second is in Middlebury at 11 a.m. at the Addison County Parent-Child Center. Children are welcome at the meetings.
Eligible families must earn less than 80 percent of the median income in Addison County. That translates into a household income of between $37,900 and $50,000, according to Carothers.
She explained that Habitat homes are geared toward people who may not qualify for subsidized housing, but earn less than what would be necessary to get an affordable mortgage through a bank.
“They have to have decent enough credit so there is confidence they’ll be able to pay the mortgage back,” Carothers said.
The selected family will pay a no-interest mortgage held by Habitat. The family will also help build the home through what Habitat calls “sweat equity.” That means each adult in the home will need to spend 200 hours working on the home, to a maximum of 400 hours per family, according to Carothers.
Habitat sinks all mortgage revenues into the purchase of new lots and construction.
Habitat’s Bristol home will be on one of seven lots in the Ladeau/MacDonough subdivision, located near Mount Abraham Union High School and the Bristol landfill. The Habitat home will mirror those already under construction in the neighborhood; it will be a two-story cape, hooked up to municipal water services. David Andrews, a longtime Habitat for Humanity of Addison County board member, said the home will have three bedrooms.
“We will look for a family for whom a three-bedroom home will be appropriate,” Andrews said.
Habitat officials said construction on the Bristol home will probably take a calendar year. The organization is always looking for volunteers to help with construction. Previous Habitat projects have drawn participation from students at the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center and Middlebury College.
Carothers also is hoping students will be available to help with a home that will be built on one of three residential lots at Otter View Park off Weybridge Street.
Spearheaded by the Middlebury Area Land Trust (MALT), Otter View Park is currently a 16-acre open space that straddles Middlebury and Weybridge and fronts the Otter Creek. Along with offering residents great views and recreation opportunities, the park includes three building lots that have been sold to help underwrite the costs of the project. Two of the lots have been sold at market rate, for $85,000 each. The other, earmarked for affordable housing, went to Habitat for $40,000.
Gioia Kuss, executive director of MALT, said she’s pleased to see how Otter View Park has come together.
“I think it’s fantastic to have the breadth of positive outcomes that have resulted from a project like this,” Kuss said.
A family will soon be benefiting from the fruits of Habitat’s most recent labor — a single-family home on North Pleasant Street in Middlebury. Robin Bentley and her two children, Sydney and Alex, have been selected to own the home. It’s the third home Habitat for Humanity of Addison County has built; the other two are located off Route 116 in Bristol and off Mead Lane in Middlebury.
“It really feels good to be this far along,” Andrews said.