MODESTO — Habitat for Humanity Stanislaus County has started construction on River Vista, a roughly $3 million, 21-unit subdivision in west Modesto.
The first five homes could be completed by the end of June with the remaining units expected to be built in a few years. River Vista will include five-bedroom, two-bath homes, the first time Habitat has built houses that big in Stanislaus County.
Executive Director Anita Hellam said her housing nonprofit is building bigger to accommodate the larger, nontraditional families seeking help with homeownership. She said those nontraditional families can include two adult sisters living and raising children together or a family of grandparents, parents and children.
Habitat will hold a 9 a.m. groundbreaking ceremony at River Vista on April 12 to thank its project partners, such as Stanislaus County and the city of Modesto. The public is invited.
"It will be a chance to celebrate the beginning of a great project," Hellam said.
River Vista is off Signature Court near the SOS Club. Before Habitat acquired it, the site was slated for a 25-home, conventional subdivision, but the developer was only able to finish four of the homes.
Habitat also is expanding its reach throughout Stanislaus County through an alliance between Bank of America and Habitat for Humanity International. In December, the bank committed to donating as many as 2,000 vacant single-family homes or lots over three years to Habitat affiliates throughout the nation.
Habitat for Humanity Stanislaus County will receive 75 properties over three years; it has possession of the first five. Hellam said the program will allow Habitat to provide housing in parts of Stanislaus County it has not been able to reach.
"We're actually in three cities we've never served before Oakdale, Waterford and Newman," she said.
Dream of homeownership
Habitat makes homeownership possible for low- income families. A Stanislaus County family of four would have to make $21,000 to $47,000 a year to qualify. The typical mortgage payment is $600 a month. The mortgage is low because Habitat does not charge interest.
Besides the income limits, families must provide 500 hours of sweat equity toward building their homes. They need to be employed and have a credit score of at least 600.
Habitat is taking applicants from prospective homeowners. Those interested can call (209) 575-4585, ext. 100.
Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2316.