Habitat breaks ground — Kitsap branch of national charity begins construction of six homes

Habitat for Humanity of Kitsap
Habitat for Humanity of Kitsap's Bay Vista development awaits further work on the foundations of six homes Oct. 11. Ground was broken at the site Oct. 8.
— image credit: Tom James/staff photo

Six families will have new homes in west Bremerton by this spring.

Habitat for Humanity of Kitsap County broke ground on the Bay Vista project Saturday as members of the charity’s board and one of the families set to receive a house in the project looked on.

Located on Arsenal Way beside State Highway 3, the six homes will be built as town homes, sharing walls in two groups of three, said Ted Treanor, director of Habitat for Humanity of Kitsap County.

By Monday, work on the foundation had begun, and Mel Cunningham, construction manager at the site, said he was just waiting for county permit approval before pouring concrete.

The program, Treanor said, is open to anyone who meets income and credit criteria set by Habitat for Humanity.

An open application period begins for each site, Treanor said, as soon as plans are finalized. Applicants who meet the income and credit requirements have to also be willing to put in what Treanor calls “sweat equity,” working alongside the builders for a certain number of hours.

“We’ve had handicapped people,” Treanor said. “If you can serve coffee on the job site, or pound nails or any other kind of skill.”

One family had already been selected for a home in the development. A single mother of two, Treanor said, had met the requirements and agreed to put in 400 hours of “sweat equity” alongside volunteers at the site. The organization was especially happy to find a home for the family, he said, because they had applied three years ago and had only just missed certain eligibility criteria.

The credit requirement, Treanor said, is included because successful applicants end up actually owning their homes. Habitat for Humanity gives zero-interest loans to the new owners, he said, which they then pay back on their own.

Beyond the basic requirements, Treanor said, application is open to anyone.  As of Tuesday, Habitat for Humanity had received 24 applications for the six homes. Treanor said that the number of applicants had gone up over the last year, but he couldn’t say by how much.

Many families, Treanor said, are unable to afford homes of their own even though they may already pay as much or more in rent than they would on a traditional mortgage.

“There’s a lot more need out there than what we build,” Treanor said.

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