Habitat marks 1,000 homes with Vail Valley celebration | VailDaily.com

Habitat marks 1,000 homes with Vail Valley celebration

Lauren Glendenninglglendenning@vaildaily.comVail Valley, CO Colorado

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado This holiday season Celeste Morales will not only be living in a new home in Colorado’s Vail Valley, but shell finally have her very own bedroom.The 12-year-old Berry Creek Middle School student is moving into a Habitat for Humanity home with her mother, Shelly, and 5-year-old brother, Dylan, toward the end of the month. Shelly Morales is a single mother, and owning a home in the valley shes called home for 12 years is like a dream come true, she said.We just cant believe that were getting a home, Shelly Morales said. Habitat for Humanity celebrated with the Morales family and three others at the Fox Hollow Habitat homes in Edwards last night. The ceremony was a milestone for Habitat for Humanity of Colorado the four Fox Hollow homes mark the first four of the next 1,000 homes the organization aims to build in Colorado over the next three years. The 1,000th home milestone was reached last month. It took Habitat for Humanity of Colorado 30 years to build the first 1,000 homes, so the three-year goal for another 1,000 is ambitious, but with new partnerships with professional builders and banks who secure the zero percent interest loans for the homes, it shouldnt be hard, said Stefka Fanchi, executive director for Habitat for Humanity of Colorado. The local affiliate, Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties, built 19 homes in 12 years, but it took just six months to build the four at Fox Hollow.What helped speed things along were partnerships with local professional builders JL Viele Construction and Gregg & Co. Builders. Professional experience that supplements the volunteer hours put in by locals and the future homeowners themselves help keep the pace fast and ensures everything is built right.Jim Himmes, the construction manager for the Fox Hollow homes, said volunteers put in more than 3,000 hours of work on the homes. What Himmes is especially proud of is the homes will all meet LEED certification standards, meaning theyre energy efficient. Habitat for Humanity feels a responsibility to the environment, he said, and also to the families moving into new homes. Himmes said utility costs in the Fox Hollow homes should be as much as 60 percent lower than average. Cost savings like that are important for families who have qualified for these homes because they cannot afford normal market rates for homes in the area. Any savings down the road will help. State Sen. Dan Gibbs, who was at the Fox Hollow celebration, said helping families in need is especially important in a place that already has such a high cost of living. He says affordable housing ranks among his constituents most important concerns. County Commissioner Sara Fisher said the Habitat families were also a great testament to the valleys only low-income housing complex, Riverview Apartments. The point of those apartments is to help people get on their feet so they can own a home someday, and that seems to be working, she said. The Lopez family Pedro and Magdalena, and their children, Alejandra, Brissa and Lizette received house keys to their new home at Fridays night event. It was not only an emotional moment for the family, but also an emotional year. The Lopezs just received their American citizenship and voted in their first election. Its been the most beautiful year for me, Magdalena Lopez said. It was a big year.

To volunteer or donate to Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties, visit http://www.habitateaglelake.org, or call (970) 748-6718.