Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley homeownership applications open through Friday, Sept. 28 | VailDaily.com

Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley homeownership applications open through Friday, Sept. 28

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Before becoming a Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley homeowner, Nicole Sisneros, right, completed 549 “sweat equity” hours (more than double the 250 hours required) helping to build her own home, as well as the homes of other future homeowners. Pictured here are Nicole and her daughter Jasmine at Habitat's Diva Day event in July 2017.

VAIL — Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley is now accepting homeowner applications for six homes, which will be located in Gypsum adjacent to Red Hill Elementary School and scheduled for completion in 2019. Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28. These homes will be the first of 12 to be built on 2.3 acres of land donated to Habitat by the Eagle County School District.

According to the 2018 Eagle River Valley Housing Needs and Solutions study, 99 percent of renters and 84 percent of homeowners in Eagle County feel that resident occupied/workforce housing is one of the most critical problems in our community.

Habitat for Humanity fills a gap as the only developer of "for sale" homes in our county that are affordable to families earning between 35 percent and 80 percent of the area median income (between $30,940 and $70,720 for a family of four). It's estimated that one in three Eagle River Valley households would qualify for a Habitat home based on their income.

"My Habitat home means more to me than words can describe," said Nicole Sisneros, a Habitat homeowner in Gypsum. "It means that my kids and I will have a permanent roof over our head, a stable foundation to build upon and a place that we can call our own. It makes me so happy to know that I worked so hard for something so necessary for my family."

After an application has been submitted, all of the information provided is reviewed and verified by Habitat's Selection Committee. The criteria for family selection are need (current shelter is inadequate or applicant is paying too large of a percentage of their income on rent), ability to pay (income, work history, credit score), willingness to partner with Habitat (each homeowner must complete 250 "sweat equity" hours) and residency status (all applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents).

"A Habitat home can improve the economic stability of a family, oftentimes breaking the cycle of poverty from one generation to the next," said Elyse Howard, development director for Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley. "Stable, affordable housing creates long-lasting results that improve the education, income stability and health for the families we serve and for our community."

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Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley has one open application period annually and typically selects five to eight families during each application cycle. Applications are now available online at habitatvailvalley.org/own-a-home or in person at the Habitat Vail Valley office at 455 Nottingham Ranch Road in Avon or the Habitat ReStore at 751 Chambers Road in Eagle.

This year's application deadline is Friday, Sept. 28, at 5 p.m. For more information about homeownership, call the Habitat office at 970-748-6718.