Housing crisis prompts increased need for Habitat for Humanity homes

Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity is in the last stages of building a double home site for two community members in need. (Genevieve Grippo/KTVL)

The local branch of Habitat for Humanity is in the last stages of building a double home site for two people in need.

The organization says they've had an especially busy year building homes for community members struggling to find affordable and safe housing.

"We are spread thin, but loving every minute of it," said Brandon Thom, the Operation Director for Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity.

Jude Forler applied to Habitat for Humanity with little hope of being selected. To her surprise, she got a call with news that she had been chosen.

"The first word that came out of my mouth when they informed me was oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh my god," said Forler.

The gift comes at a much needed time. Forler is on a fixed income, and says the rent at her trailer park has nearly doubled after it was bought out by a new company. Her trailer is severely damaged, but those necessary repairs are out of her price range.

"It was called pure desperation. Living in a trailer park, the rent has escalated beyond words," said Forler. "The trailer that I'm living in is falling down around me with no means of making it any better."

Come February, she will have a brand new home with an affordable payment. The mortgage will consist only of building costs.

She says that if Habitat for Humanity had not stepped in, her situation could have turned dire.

"I shutter to think of it. I really do," said Forler.

Today, employees from Sterling West Property Management were at the site to pitch in.

"Not having the inventory to supply to the number of people that need a place to live or a least an affordable place to live, that's the part of our job that's really hard," said Danielle Roberts, the owner of Sterling West Property Management. "So being able to help provide it to somebody is a big deal to us,"

Habitat for Humanity says it depends on volunteers to make their vision happen.

"It's really cool to see someone who gets the housing crisis that we're in, really roll up their sleeves and want to do something to effect some change in our community," said Thom.

The volunteers were even treated to a little something special while they worked.

Forler's new neighbor, Bill Hahey, is another Habitat for Humanity recipient. A blind musician from Ashland, he and a friend played original songs for the volunteers all morning.

Froler and Hahey's houses have been in the works since May. In just a few months, they will be able to move into their new homes.

"It's a place where I can relax. It's a place where I can hope and dream. It's all that," said Forler.

Anyone wanting to apply or volunteer for Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity, visit their website.

They are accepting applications now through December fourth.

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