Traditionally Nevada County Habitat will build one home at a time, and on a occasion, two. But because of the social distancing safety protocols implemented on-site due to the pandemic, Habitat commenced building three homes simultaneously in early December.
“It’s something we’ve always wanted to do,” says Nevada County Habitat Executive Director, Lorraine Larson. “Expanding our construction capacity has always been a part of our long-term plans. Because of the safety policies we’ve implemented, combined with the proximity of the home sites, it just seemed the time was right.”
And, according to Andy Kramer, Nevada County Habitat Board Member and construction liaison, the move creates greater operational efficiency while also accelerating the building process.
“Our mission at Habitat for Humanity is to provide affordable housing for as many people as we can. We are fortunate in Nevada County to find ourselves in a situation where we have buildable lots, approved house plans, and an experienced workforce to be able to tackle multiple construction projects at the same time.
“By having multiple homes in different stages of construction we are able to efficiently use our crews on different tasks depending on who is available and their particular skill sets. We occasionally experience downtime due to material availability and/or inspections. Having multiple homes under development allows us to shift our efforts to another home and in addition, when we encounter inclement weather we will always have one house that requires interior work and construction can continue.”
The construction team is in the final stages of completing the first of the three homes, and have done foundation work to the other two. For future homeowners Mike and Tommi D. (house #3), the sight of poured concrete has brought pure joy.
“We’ve been driving by the site of our new home every week. We’ve even brought the kids and had picnics there. It was hard for our son to see the empty piece of land and conceive that that’s where his new house, and a room of his own, would be.” Says Mike. “But now, it’s becoming real for him. He’s even making designs of his new room out of Play-Doh! It’s very exciting for all of us.”
Long range, after completing these three homes, another home is planned for the Park Place site. From there, infrastructure work will begin on Heritage Oaks II – a 12-home development located across the street from Habitat’s Heritage Oaks 16-home neighborhood.
“We’re so grateful for our committed volunteers and supporters,” Larson said. “Without them this unprecedented growth in our capacity would never have happened.”