Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans announced this week four families—including seven children—chosen to join their affordable mortgage homeownership program.
Three of the families will occupy the triplex currently under construction on Park Avenue in Montrose. The fourth, a family with multi-generational members, will work with the organization to build a home on Bluegrass Court in Montrose.
Montana Pizzarusso and her two children, Easton, age 2 and Jax, age 4 are already looking forward to spending more time together as a family.
“This opportunity means so much to us, the affordability will allow me to spend more time with my children,” said Pizzarusso.
Currently Pizzarusso works two jobs to pay her rent and bills. They’ve moved almost every year since Jax was born, most often due to affordability issues with the shifting and increasingly costly rental market. With a mortgage she can afford, Pizzarusso expects she’ll be able to work less and spend more time taking advantage of the “fresh mountain air, starry nights and loving people who make Southwest Colorado the best place to call home.”
Sarah Riley and her eight year old son Ezra have had similar experiences. The home they currently rent in is often cold and has exposed insulation. “You can feel the wind blow through the house,” said Riley. Her rent has also gone up over $200 since they began renting. “The biggest change for us will be living in a great neighborhood, downtown and for Ezra specifically, “he’s really looking forward to painting his room his favorite color orange.”
Ed Fry and his daughter Taylor, age 9, likewise are looking forward to the stability and affordability owning Habitat home will provide. “Homeownership has a powerful effect on families, even generationally,” he said.
Fry too sees the benefit in living in a stable community with children. “I think Taylor may have some babysitting in her future.”
For Les and Kaitlyn Mascarenas, their growing brood includes Les’s elderly father, Isabella, age 10, her nine year old brother, Emilio and a new sibling on the way. For them, it’s all about having room to grow.
“Currently we rent a two bedroom house and are always caught up in trying to make ends meet,” said Mrs. Mascarenas.
Each family will volunteer at least 250 hours to help construct their home; upon completion of the triplex and the single family home, each of these families will purchase their home at a zero percent interest mortgage.
According to Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans, Executive Director Colleen Burke, the community is also leaning in with extraordinary support for these projects and families.
Corporate sponsors include DMEA, Alpine Bank, Academy Mortgage, Motley Architecture Design, Dynamic Integration, D&S Underground, City of Montrose, Montrose Forest Products, Montrose Women’s Club and Mesa Engineering and Surveying.
Build Days have also been sponsored by regional groups including Target, Bank of Colorado, Coldwell Banker, Wells Fargo, Crossfit Agoge, Alpine Bank and United Church of the San Juans who send their employees to the construction site for the day to help install floors and raise walls.
Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans serves Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel counties and is currently planning and building new construction on homes in both Montrose and Ridgway, which will bring their total new home construction to 58 homes since 1991.
Naturally, more volunteers are always needed and the entire community is encouraged to make an impact with these four families. “When you support Habitat, you’re helping neighbors achieve a simple, healthier and better life,” said Pizzarusso.