Wednesday, July 10, 2013

ARCH merges with Habitat for Humanity

Organizations say focus should be on affordable rental housing


    Habitat for Humanity of Blaine County will merge into ARCH Community Housing Trust, Habitat Chairman John Flattery announced this week.
    Habitat for Humanity has given its vacant lot in Bellevue, the mortgages on the homes it has constructed or renovated in the Wood River Valley, and most other assets to ARCH. A construction trailer and tools were donated to Habitat for Humanity in Boise, which helped the local group with its initial projects.
    When Habitat was formed in 2005, Flattery said, there was a need for homes that low- to moderate-income families could purchase. Today, the demand in the Wood River Valley has shifted to rental housing, he said.  
    “ARCH has been very successful in creating affordable rental housing, such as the River Street apartments in Hailey,” he said. “In contrast, Habitat was developed to build homes to sell to individual families and is not designed to own rental properties.
    “Blaine   County also has four entities focusing on affordable housing,” he added. “We concluded that this is too many organizations for an area with a relatively small population.”
    ARCH was the logical choice, he said, because Habitat and ARCH have a history of working together and several people have served on the boards of both organizations. The other two organizations, the Ketchum Community Development Corp. and the Blaine County  Housing Authority, are government agencies,  making a merger with Habitat  impractical.
    “We believe that the merger will make the development of affordable housing more efficient in Blaine County, as well as serve the current market better,” Flattery said.
    “ARCH and Habitat for Humanity have similar missions, share a similar donor base and tap the same community members to serve as board members,” said Michelle Griffith, ARCH executive director.
    The mission of ARCH Community Housing Trust, formed in 2005, is to develop safe, permanently affordable housing for persons of low to moderate income and to work with all interested public and private parties towards this objective.

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