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Habitat for Humanity: No resolutions, just strong future plans

A well-laid foundation at Habitat Vail Valley means tripling housing starts for the community this year.

Right around the New Year, I skinned up Vail Mountain with my family. What a way to welcome in the New Year. Under a large moon with my boys, I felt a sense of peace, gratitude and spectacularly out of breath. We talked about resolutions. I am not a huge resolution person. I set goals and go about attaining them but as we chatted, we agreed if you want to make a change — whether it’s exercise more, be healthier, learn a language or take up gardening — just do it. No fanfare. No grand gesture. Show up each day, take small steps — goal achieved.

Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley, I believe, is very similar. We show up for the community. We listen, we engage, we see what is needed and we are committed to delivering. We see that a home is a foundation for everything — feeling safe, able to learn, and a place to be physically, emotionally and mentally fit.



The need for housing may never have been greater than in the past few years. Our response to the housing crisis? Let’s do more. With the support of our board, our partners and our families, we are starting three times as many houses in 2023 than in the past. We will build 16 homes in Eagle — 75% for Eagle County School District families — and eight homes in Gypsum. Altogether, those 24 homes starts are triple our annual production. It’s daunting but we are poised to deliver. We aren’t changing our strategies. Consistency is our key, but we are increasing our efforts.

For us this is a marathon, not a sprint. In 1996, we built one home. That increased over the years to four, then six, and for the past few years, we have been able to partner with eight families per year. We are so happy for the eight families on their journey to housing stability. But this year, for 16 homes, we received 96 applications. Ninety-six. And we know based on community feedback, the news and social media, there are hundreds more who need a home.

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Over the past two years, we’ve advocated for the once-in-a-generation funding available from the federal government. We have worked to position ourselves with as many shovel-ready projects as possible to maximize the opportunity to receive this funding for our community and our stakeholders. We are prepped to get the investment into our community for hardworking locals who need homes.

We set ourselves up to be able to respond to the critical need of this moment. Our financials are in order, our partners are committed, and we are following the core values that guide our efforts. We are taking the time to make good decisions using relevant information, embracing our partnerships, and building consensus to triple the number of housing starts in 2023.

While we have built a solid foundation as permanently affordable home builders, we aren’t afraid to ask for help. For the past 18 months, we’ve worked closely with Fading West Building Systems, a modular home builder to develop a partnership to deliver homes faster. We’ve leaned on lawyers, land planners and engineers. These long-term partners are key in helping us move forward with families who desperately want to stay in Eagle County, who want to work here, raise families and build the fabric of our community.



We’re ready to build 24 homes in 2023. We will show up every day to get the work done — strengthening our community and building strong foundations. Join us as we move forward: volunteer at the ReStore or on the job site, attend the March 11 Carpenters’ Ball, shop at the ReStore, or advocate for affordable housing in your town. Learn more at HabitatVailValley.org.

Elyse Howard is the director of development at Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley. Learn more about Habitat Vail Valley and our three-year plan, when we will double our home-building efforts, at HabitatVailValley.org. 


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