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Blue Spruce Habitat dedicates 30th home

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By Sandy Barnes

On a high road in Brook Forest is a gray frame house with purple trim where Evergreen resident Elizabeth Gonzales now lives.

 

Gonzales’ new home is the 30th one built by Blue Spruce Habitat for Humanity.

“Two years ago, I first saw this land. Now it’s going to be Elizabeth’s home,” said Kathleen O’Leary, executive director of the area organization.

O’Leary was among Blue Spruce Habitat staff and volunteers who came to the dedication of Gonzales’ home on Friday afternoon.

With a bright smile on her face, Gonzales thanked people who supported her and helped build her home on the forested acre of land.

“This house has been a joy in a time of sorrow,” she said. “It is my haven, my sanctuary and my security. It is my heart’s content.”

Gonzales said her involvement with Habitat began at the end of a broken marriage and at a time in which she had experienced profound loss and tragedy.

“This has helped me move on,” she said.

“We are here because of all the organizations and volunteers who helped build this home,” said O’Leary. 

Mile High Community Loan, Air Radon and the Whirlpool Corp., which donated appliances for the home, are among contributors, she said.

Green Apple Supply also donated environmentally friendly products to the home, as well as hours of volunteer labor, O’Leary added.

“We’ve worked with Elizabeth to make this happen,” said Tara Kindel, volunteer coordinator for Habitat. 

Susan Brubaker, program services coordinator of Blue Spruce Habitat, pointed out that homes are not given to recipients. 

“They pay a mortgage and put in 250 hours of sweat equity,” she said.

In selecting families for Habitat homes, Brubaker said, Habitat staff do home visits and a financial review of resources. 

“We have income limits,” she said.

Blue Spruce Habitat board members also review the applicants and participate in the decision process, which takes four to five months, Brubaker said.

“Single people are families also,” Brubaker said about selecting an individual for the three-bedroom, two-bath home.

Steve Colella, construction manager for Blue Spruce Habitat, said that building the home for Gonzales was a fairly typical project for the organization. 

Among challenges were clearing hundreds of trees on the heavily wooded site and drilling a 900-foot-deep well, he said. 

Colella is also finishing construction on a duplex in Kittredge for two Habitat families. 

The Kittredge home is situated on a high ridge where property tends to be more affordable, said Colella. Like the Gonzales home, the Kittredge home is being constructed with energy-efficient features, he said.

A national and international faith-based organization with local chapters, Habitat for Humanity offers affordable home ownership to low-income families. Those selected for the homes contribute a minimum of 250 hours of “sweat equity” to their construction and make monthly mortgage payments set at 30 percent of the family’s gross income.

For more information about Blue Spruce Habitat for Humanity, including volunteer opportunities, visit www.bluesprucehabitat.org" www.bluesprucehabitat.org or call the office at 303-674-1127.

 

Contact Sandy Barnes at sandy@evergreenco.com or call 303-350-1042.