Paso Robles to support Habitat for Humanity's plan to build 6 homes

Paso Robles leaders have given their support to a local nonprofit group looking to buy land on the city’s west side to build six low-income homes.

In its role as the the city’s Redevelopment Agency board, the City Council on Nov. 16 approved spending $270,000 on the project for San Luis Obispo County Habitat for Humanity.

The money is intended to offset fees the city would charge the builder of the proposed homes at 2811 Vine St.

The project is expected to cost $1.7 million, Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Julia Ogden said.

Volunteer labor and donated materials would cover about a third of that cost, she added, leaving the group about $750,000 to secure.

The nonprofit group’s leaders are applying for a county grant to cover that cost. If the grant is approved, it would be awarded in fall 2011.

If not, the organization could reapply or seek government or private grants.

The city money would only be released if the project is funded.

The council also agreed to support Habitat for Humanity in applying for a $225,000 CalHomes deferred-payment loan, which the state grants to public agencies and nonprofit developers for low-income housing projects.

The six Paso Robles homes are each designed to be 1,000 square feet.

Families whose incomes are 25 percent to 30 percent of the county’s median income are eligible for Habitat for Humanity homes, though other screening criteria apply.

The city still needs to approve building permits, Ogden said, and Habitat for Humanity is preparing its permit applications and design proposals.

This will be the organization’s second project in Paso Robles.

It has also built low-income homes in Atascadero, Grover Beach and Cambria, and two are under construction in San Luis Obispo.

Habitat for Humanity builds homes with volunteers who work side-by-side with the families who will purchase the completed homes.

Families must contribute 500 hours of labor in the construction process.

The homes are then sold to those families at no profit to the organization and financed through its own no-interest mortgages.

Mortgage payments are then used to help finance additional low-income homes in the county.