residents start building affordable housing |

residents start building affordable housing

Even under clouds and rain, the walls went up Saturday on the first of the homes being built in the Ranchos with Citizens for Affordable Homes Inc.

Three families, their friends and volunteers from Rite of Passage cut boards and pounded nails in what will soon be the homes they couldn’t have otherwise afforded.

Site supervisor Tom Finch said by next week, the building permits will enable the rest of the group to begin pouring the foundations for their homes. Eventually, 24 homes, built eight at a time, will form a circle off Wheeler Road. The homeowners will not only be neighbors, they will be friends.

All the families who will live in the homes are required to put in 35 hours a week building not only their own homes, but seven other residences. The head of the household has to put in at least 17 hours.

Many people were out Saturday morning for the wall-raising because it was a special day – the day their houses took the shape they have held in their minds for many months.

Dawn Gadwill is a Carson City mother of four. She has to put in all the hours herself, now that the friend who was helping her dropped out. Anyone can volunteer to help and Gadwill admits she can use all the help she can get.

“I come out when other people are signed up to be here. We just kind of coordinate because I don’t know much about building a house,” she said.

She said the day was very special for her, but so has every part of the process.

“I got all emotional the day they poured the concrete,” she said. “I started crying.”

She said before she found CAHI, she called every housing program she could find to help her get a home for her and her children. She now lives with her mother so she can save money.

Gadwill said CAHI has been heaven-sent, although it took her more than a year to meet the requirements and pay off debt.

“They talk you through everything. It’s hard, though,” she said.

Jeremy Davidson, his girlfriend Erin Wetzel, and their 14-month-old son, Spencer, will be in their new home by summer. On Saturday, Jeremy and Erin helped raise the walls on their home and two others.

“It was exciting to see everybody’s home go up,” Jeremy said.

“It’s exciting no matter whose home it is because all the homes have to be finished before we can move in,” Erin said.

The couple – Jeremy is an architectural draftsman and Erin is a stay-at-home mom – live in an apartment in the Ranchos now.

Jeremy also said the work is hard, but he doesn’t mind.

“We couldn’t have gotten a loan through a bank or anything,” he said. “I draw houses, but building one is very different, let me tell you. But we don’t mind the work.”

They have lots of friends and family who come out to help them, as do many of the families.

Alan Erb was there Saturday putting in his eight hours a week for his friend, Caren Guerra.

“I think this is the kind of project that helps a lot of people, not just my friend. You’re helping bring something to fruition,” he said.

Tom Frazier of Carson City said he and his wife, Michele, have to come at different times because of their work schedules. He is a construction worker and she works for Bank of America.

He said Michele was not as eager as he was to build their own house, but now that they can see walls outlining what will soon be their home, they are both excited.

“It looks more like a house now. She’s getting more excited and talks about where she wants to put the couch,” he said.

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