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Habitat For Humanity Can’t Build Homes In The Bay Area Cheaply Enough For Lower-Income Buyers

The current housing situation in the Bay Area, California, is proving to be a task that even the group Habitat for Humanity says it is failing to mend, reports the Mercury News.

Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) is an international, non-governmental and nonprofit organization that was founded and has been in operation since 1976. The organization is devoted to building “simple, decent, and affordable” housing, and is a self described “Christian housing ministry.” The organization has addressed issues of poverty housing all over the word. And even this organization says that they “can’t raise money fast enough to cover the gap between what very low income residents can pay and the actual cost of providing homes” in the Bay Area, California. Even though the work is done with a slew of volunteers, the organization is still coming up short, and this is due to the housing crisis in the area.

According to Janice Jenson, the president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity East Bay and Silicon Valley, everything from the raw materials needed, such as wood and drywall, to real estate have soared over the past half decade. They are seeing the fastest rate in nearly six years as this material costs continue to climb, fighting against the organization’s efforts to help low income families.

“If you look broadly at affordable housing, it’s never been more expensive than it is right now to build.”

Currently, in Fremont Habitat for Humanity is seeing a bad situation play out, as they are selling 19 of 30 planned condos to families whose income is 40 to 115 percent higher than that of the buyers originally targeted. What is this happening? Thanks to the rising construction costs and a big drop in public funding, the organization is having to sell their “inexpensive” homes that were meant for low income buys for way higher prices that most, if not all, of those low income families cannot actually afford.

Currently Habitat for Humanity is focusing on the Central Commons project, in which in the condos were supposed to be sold to very low income families and half to low income families. However, thanks to the difficult influx that the organization is fighting against, these condos have now been increased in price twice just to cover the additional $3.54 million USD that the project was costing. This scenario has effectively excluded very low income families from a shot at purchasing the homes. Those very low income families earn up to half of the median income for the area, which is about $58,100 for a family of four.

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