May 23—Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity is looking for a few good lots where it can build homes for low-income residents.
Vacant lots can be sold or donated to the organization, which typically builds six to eight homes per year in Santa Fe. The group has built 125 homes since the local chapter was established in 1987.
"We would like to have 10 or more empty lots in our inventory," said Kurt Krahn, executive director of Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity. "We have four vacant lots now. We have four homes under construction now."
The nonprofit often collaborates with developers who need to meet 20 percent affordable housing requirements in the city and 15 percent in Santa Fe County, but it also will accept lots from individual property owners.
"We are in talks with a landowner in Agua Fría to buy a half-acre parcel," Krahn said. "We can get two or three lots on that parcel. The owner likes our mission."
Habitat provides homes at reduced cost to low-income residents through volunteer labor and a requirement that the homeowner put in 350 hours in "sweat equity" to help build the home. Homeowners then make mortgage payments to the organization.
Most of Habitat's homes in recent years were built in Las Soleras and Oshara Village. Krahn said Pulte Homes donated five lots in Las Soleras to meet affordable housing requirements.
"We have built over 30 homes in Oshara Village," Krahn said. "Builders are not in the business of building affordable housing. We can do that for the builders. The infrastructure is there — that is the best scenario. But we are open and interested in all different scenarios."
Habitat for Humanity does buy land, but as a nonprofit, it also seeks property donations. Krahn said property owners can qualify for a 50 percent New Mexico Affordable Housing tax credit on state income taxes through the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority program.