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2 New Habitat for Humanity Homes Unveiled

Novato now has three of Marin County's four Habitat homes; recipients overwhelmed by generosity and support.

The home makeover wasn’t quite as lavish as what you might see on primetime TV, but a bungalow on Boulevard Court in Novato underwent a transformation from almost unlivable to quite inviting over the past few months. The key ingredient? Sweat equity.

Although their last names were not released for privacy concerns, the families — Alexandr, Yelena and their college-age daughter, plus Heather, Hector and their 12-year-old daughter — beamed with pride at becoming homeowners through Habitat for Humanity. The latter family is moving into a new home in Ignacio.

Alexandr, who speaks Russian and very little English, was asked what it means to be the recipient of a Habitat for Humanity home near downtown Novato, and all he could do was break into huge smile, raise his hands above his head and say bolshoi spaciba, or big thanks.

In fact, two families were given keys to their new homes at a Habitat for Humanity ceremony Tuesday in Novato. They thanked the Habitat for Humanity staff, civic leaders, volunteers and neighbors for making the home purchases possible.

Novato Mayor Madeline Kellner and Marin County Supervisors Judy Arnold and Susan Adams were among the officials who welcomed Alexandr and his family to the neighborhood. Habitat's regional executive director Phillip Kilbridge welcomed the crowd and thanked the city for its contributions to the homes, which count toward regional affordable housing quotas.

Habitat’s Deven Richardson, the regional office’s director of real estate development, credited Wells Fargo, Coldwell Banker and the for allowing the purchases to happen. Father Edward Inyanwachi of made a blessing, and students from Marin Primary and Middle School presented gifts to the families.

Here is a story from the about these homes and families.

Dee Gee October 26, 2011 at 09:29 PM
Not to denigrate the nice folks at Habitat for Humanity, but the one or two homes per year that they're able to provide doesn't begin to meet the hundreds of units of affordable housing that the City needs to provide in order to meet the needs of all the low and moderate income people who work in the area. People shouldn't have to commute to work in Novato from other counties.
Tina McMillan October 27, 2011 at 04:21 PM
Dee Gee I know it's not enough but it is so much better than creating homes without a property tax base. Novato is the first Marin community to work with Habitat for Humanity. Like so much else in the affordable housing world Novato steps up to the plate to help needy families become more self sufficient. If we rush the process by building high density housing without a tax base we won't have the revenue to support services or the ability to manage the complexes themselves. In order to be in a Habitat home you have to be employed and willing to put in the sweat equity to own your own home. Hat's off to Habitat for twice again provided sustainable housing in Novato.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr October 28, 2011 at 03:28 AM
Habitat for Humanity is a great group, and they do great work. Bravo.
SHROYER FOR SUPERVISOR 2014 October 28, 2011 at 03:42 AM
Habitat for Humanity Homes are successful models for affordable housing. Sad to say, these homes do not count toward our AH mandates from the state. Ditto to what Tina said above. Well said Tina!
Bob Ratto October 28, 2011 at 04:08 AM
H4H is a great group, I just wish they could get the tax advantaged status of the "non-profits"-if they could, so many more homes could be renovated. Great story, great news.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr October 28, 2011 at 04:15 AM
Just so that you know what a bunch of geniuses we have in Sacramento, these Habitat for Humanity homes do not "count" in determining the low income housing quotas imposed by ABAG upon Novato.
Bob Ratto October 28, 2011 at 04:52 AM
That is just sheer bureaucratic stupidity..if someone thinks H4H homes should not count they are crazy...since the residents have to do sweat equity, they should get at least double credit
Sylvia Barry October 28, 2011 at 05:38 AM
Judy Arnold said in one of the videos in this article that Habitat for Humanity homes will be counted towards Affordable Housing starting 2012. Seeing the comments above. I went and searched for AB1103, which was introduced by Jared Huffman. It also said that "AB 1103 would allow foreclosed homes purchased by organizations such as Habitat for Humanity to count toward the affordable housing targets set by the Association of Bay Area Governments." The three H4H homes already built in Novato may not count towards AH because they were already built, but from the video and what I read, the future ones should. What did I miss?
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr October 28, 2011 at 05:45 AM
That would be an improvement. Thanks for the update. But why not Habitat homes that are new builds, or not foreclosed, or just remodelled? Why not?
Sylvia Barry October 28, 2011 at 06:17 AM
Jerome - I quoted PacSun where it said 'foreclosed' homes, probably because those are the ones that have been bought so far - the ones that foreclosed, cheap, and in need of repairs. By the way, I actually know the three H4H Novato homes before they were rehab-ed. I don't claim to be expert, but this is what I understand about how H4H works - they go out and buy homes (in this case, county has a stake in it) that are a great deal, in despair; and they get donations for materials and require the future homeowners to work with volunteers to rehab the homes and make those very nice homes to live in. This gives the homeowners a stake in the house and be proud of what they have. They don't just give homes away, they make them earn it. To buy a new home or a remodeled home defeats the purposes of the organization. By the way, all these Affordable Housing talks in the middle of celebrating these wonderful rehabilitated homes for the proud homeowners really takes away from how great these projects are. We should be celebrating with them and congratulate both the proud homeowners and Habitat for Humanity for a job well done instead!
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr October 28, 2011 at 02:07 PM
I have and I continue to celebrate Habitat for Humanity. I have and I continue to condemn Sacramento and ABAG imposition of housing quotas on Novato.
Sylvia Barry October 28, 2011 at 02:41 PM
I agree with both. I just want this article to stay focused on celebrating Habitat for Humanity and the new owners :-)
Brent Ainsworth (Editor) October 28, 2011 at 03:32 PM
Judy Arnold said there is a Jared Huffman bill in the works to change the this, Toni.

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