Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Housing trust acquires 2 condos in Old Hailey

Express Staff Writer

Rebekah Helzel

The ARCH (Advocates for Real Community Housing) Community Housing Trust has two condominiums for sale in Old Hailey.

The acquisition marks the beginning of its "Open Door Program," announced in a news release last week, to "acquire and build residences, making them available for purchase at prices affordable by working families in the Wood River Valley."

"We are excited about our transition from advocacy and education to providing affordable homes," stated ARCH founder Rebekah Helzel. "Together with our partners, we are working to provide 28 additional opportunities throughout the county."

ARCH is a Ketchum-based, nonprofit organization that has been working since 2004 to promote affordable housing in the Wood River Valley.

The organization used a $100,000 challenge matching grant from an anonymous donor to acquire the two newly renovated two-bedroom condominiums along the bike path in Hailey.

The homes will be made available to people working in Blaine County. Qualified buyers will range from single-person households earning no more than $41,888 to four-person households earning a maximum of $59,840 per year. Helzel said prices of the units have not yet been set, but they will depend upon the income level of the buyers rather than the market rate.

According to Helzel, the new homeowners will share in market-rate appreciation while ARCH retains the ability to ensure that the unit remains affordable in perpetuity.

ARCH, which Helzel founded in 2004, was presented with the Nonprofit Organization of the Year award in 2005 by the Ketchum-Sun Valley Chamber of Commerce "for its activities to create and preserve housing opportunities and home ownership for working people in Blaine County."

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