Starter Homes Offering Affordable Housing Solution

HFHNA’s first Starter Home was completely funded by the M3F Music Festival (who has provided over $250,000 to HFHNA in the past five years, alone).

Years ago, Habitat for Humanity of Northern Arizona’s (HFHNA) Board of Directors realized that inflated home prices and cost of goods would eventually exacerbate the affordable/workforce housing issue in Flagstaff, thus becoming less financially sustainable for HFHNA to build three- or four- bedroom Habitat homes.

In response to these economic changes, an idea of ​​creating a forced savings program through homeownership would allow HFHNA to build more, serve more and be the change in housing for which Flagstaff has been so desperate. The phrase “Starter Homes” was first brought to our attention by past Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans. We took the small footprint home idea and included HFHNA’s 0%-interest financing model to create an “equity” savings program, allowing our homeowners to save their own wealth quickly.

The costs of a Starter Home is as follows: $1,000 down payment and you just bought a home in Flagstaff! Monthly mortgage payments are at or below $1,000 a month. These payments create an equity savings of $10,000 a year. When a homeowner is ready to sell their home, only Habitat can buy it back and provides the owner with 100% of their equity savings. This equals $30,000 after three years, $50,000 after five years or $100,000 after 10 years. Savings can be used at the discretion of the prior homeowner, with the Starter Home being refurbished by HFHNA and resold to another low-income family to start a new saving program. Our goal is for one Starter Home to provide a savings program for multiple families rather than just one.

HFHNA’s first Starter Home was completely funded by the M3F Music Festival (who has provided over $250,000 to HFHNA in the past five years, alone). HFHNA has amazing partners to keep the overall cost of the construction to a minimum and they include: Wespac Construction, Realty Executives of Flagstaff and the City of Flagstaff’s land trust program. With these partners, and hundreds of loyal individual donors throughout Flagstaff, we are thrilled to bring our new vision into reality.

Most recently, HFHNA has entered into partnership with the Timber Sky development. This partnership is providing enough land to build 48 Starter Homes! This exciting development will only be possible with support through contributions from individuals, businesses, churches, and civic groups that will be invested in this housing solution.

Flagstaff, now is our moment to make a major impact to help those who serve our meals, educate our children, manage non-profits, and provide so many other services that each of us are dependent on in one shape or form. Contributions can be made at habitatflagstaff.org. Let’s start building together! FBN

By Eric Wolverton

Eric Wolverton is the executive director for Habitat for Humanity of Northern Arizona.

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