Local Initiative Building Homes for Working-Class Families
SARATOGA SPRINGS – For most people, Saratoga Springs and affordable housing aren’t synonymous. Whether renting or buying, living in Saratoga Springs can be a challenge for low- and middle-income families.
In an effort to bring affordable housing to Saratoga Springs a new project between the city; Habitat for Humanity of Northern Saratoga, Warren & Washington Counties; Rebuilding Together Saratoga County; and the Saratoga Builders Association, will construct two homes to house three working-class families in downtown Saratoga Springs.
The homes, to be located at 25 Cherry Street and 195 Division Street, will be constructed on foreclosed property owned by the city.
“This affordable housing initiative will return the property to the tax roll and ensure the improvement of these vacant lots,” said Michele Madigan, city finance commissioner. “It will also increase the property value.”
Madigan says this project is a great opportunity to bring three families in the heart of Saratoga, a place where they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to live.
“They’re close to downtown; they’re close to schools and recreation fields and services and walkable to the downtown area,” said Madigan.
Barry Potoker, executive director of the Saratoga Builders Association, has pledged 50 percent of the skilled labor and materials for the project; and Michelle Larkin, executive director of Rebuilding Together Saratoga, will help with volunteer management.
“The project took over a year to put together,” said Tammy DiCara, board president of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Saratoga. “It’s a partnership. We would not be able to do this project without having the help of the (SBA) and (RTS.)”
Construction on the two homes could start as early as this fall and continue through winter.
Habitat for Humanity is currently screening families earning between $28,000 and $42,000 a year to help build the homes and occupy them on a lease-to-own basis. The families will be required to contribute at least 500 hours of volunteer labor. Once constructed, families will pay anywhere from $650 to $700 in rent. Habitat for Humanity will serve as the mortgage holder.
“It’s a great opportunity for these families,” said DiCara. “And anytime we can have this type of a partnership with the city and other housing groups in the area, it only makes the community stronger when we can all work together.”
Applications for partner families and information on volunteer opportunities can be found at www.glensfallshabitat.org or by calling the office at 793-7484.