Carpenter’s Ball to raise money for green housing Saturday

Funds to go toward Habitat for Humanity townhomes on Hilltop Parkway

Steamboat Pilot

Steamboat Springs — As its only annual fundraiser, Routt County Habitat for Humanity’s Carpenter’s Ball always is a critical event for the local affordable housing provider.

That will especially be true this year, as the organization is moving toward a new financial model and hopes to take on its largest workload ever with a project to build four environmentally friendly townhomes on Hilltop Parkway.

Habitat has teamed up with the developers of Eco Corral of Steamboat, who plan to offer four of their 24 planned “green” townhomes to Habitat for Humanity at $90,000 each. The four deed-restricted units will satisfy the city’s affordable housing requirements for the development.

“It’s an exciting opportunity that we’ve never had,” said Habitat President Jeff Weeden, who said the organization needs to raise the $360,000 to purchase the townhomes by September. “That is magic for us, but we have to act quickly. : We’ve just never had to raise that amount of money in that short amount of time. We’ve never even tried. : If we don’t raise it at the ball, we’re going to scramble. We’re going to make it happen.”

Weeden said there also will be an increased emphasis on fundraising this year because Habitat can no longer rely on its previous model for financing projects. The organization used to sell completed projects’ mortgages to a third party in order to fund new projects.

Weeden said Habitat can no longer rely on those sales because of shifts in the economy, but he said the change isn’t necessarily a bad thing because the previous model allowed Habitat to build only one or two homes at a time.

“It’s going to change the scope and scale of what we’re going to be able to do going forward,” Weeden said. “It’s a more sustainable long-term vision for the affiliate. : We need to scale up. We need to do better.”

K.J. Otterman, of Classic Homes, is developing Eco Corral. Otterman’s father, Ken Otterman, is his business manager. Ken Otterman said the partnership between Eco Corral and Habitat for Humanity could provide a new model for providing affordable housing in Steamboat Springs.

“I think it’s an enormous, enormous step forward to solving what the problem is,” Ken Otterman said. “What they’ve done together is, they’ve provided a completely new direction for affordable housing working in Steamboat.”

The Carpenter’s Ball begins at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel. Tickets cost $50 a person or $90 a couple. The event includes a cocktail hour, dinner, dancing and a silent auction that includes prizes such as a weekend golf getaway in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains.

Routt County Habitat for Humanity has built seven energy-efficient, affordable homes and renovated an additional 22 apartments and one home since it was created in 1999, according to an e-mail from Executive Director Tommi Weeden. A single family home is under construction in Hayden.

“Qualifying families who are selected for Habitat homes must pay a monthly zero-interest mortgage payment,” Tommi Weeden wrote. “Those families are also required to invest hundreds of hours of their own labor – sweat equity – into construction of their home and the homes of others.”