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Habitat for Humanity reveals location of affordable housing neighborhood

U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson speaks to the crowd gathered at the Habitat for Humanity Communities of Hope location on Wednesday. Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper, left, and Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Karen Laning, middle, stand with Simpson as he speaks.


Mar 23, 2022

Idaho Falls Habitat for Humanity unveiled the location for the upcoming Communities of Hope—Step up to Home Ownership subdivision Wednesday by having Mayor Rebecca Casper and U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson break first ground at the site.

The property is just under 12 acres and located on Ernest Drive near the soccer complex. The neighborhood will be called Peterson Place to honor John Peterson and Angela Peterson, the landowners who sold the property.

“Houses are getting very expensive which makes it very difficult to get affordable housing for low-income and moderate-income individuals,” Simpson said. “This project is vitally important so that people can begin to pull themselves up.”

The Communities of Hope program is designed to help low-income residents become homeowners. Habitat for Humanity is planning to construct more than 80 properties consisting of tiny, attached and single-family housing types. Simpson wrote a bill which secured $3 million in initial federal funding for the project. The bill was signed into law Friday.

Families participating in the program who will become homeowners at Peterson Place will build equity in all levels of home ownership and will also meet financial and community service requirements, according to a Monday news release. Mortgage payments will not exceed 30% of monthly income and residents can provide sweat equity for partial mortgage payments if necessary.

The property will remain in a land trust or cooperative ownership, the release said. Residents will pay small homeowner fees and be voting members of a homeowner’s association. Seven service providers and a shopping center are within one mile of the property to help residents become more successful homeowners and the neighborhood will have a community center with a recreational area.

“This neighborhood I have a feeling, when all is said and done, is going to have that old-fashioned sense of community because people will be living close together,” Casper said. “That is important and it’s rare.”

Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Karen Lansing said the organization closed on the property on March 17, and the bill that funded the neighborhood was signed into law the following day.

“I’m just so thankful for the amount of support we’re getting for this project,” Lansing said. “We all know housing insecurity is rampant. We all know that the cost of housing has doubled over the last couple of years.”

Lansing earlier told the Post Register she expects the organization to build homes on the site for the next five to 10 years and for the project to exceed more than $10 million in cost.

The neighborhood addresses a growing problem Idaho has with overvalued housing markets, Simpson said. The Post Register reported in January that Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Boise and Coeur d’Alene ranked in the top 10 overvalued housing markets across the nation.

People eligible to purchase a Habitat for Humanity home must demonstrate a physical or financial housing need and meet income guidelines according to family size. They must be willing to partner with the organization by completing sweat equity and have the ability to pay a zero-interest mortgage. Residents must also be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or provide a documented right to work.

Habitat for Humanity can be contacted at 208-528-0290 for more information on becoming a Habitat homebuyer or ways to volunteer with the organization.

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