Some people call a new home a house.
Not Bennie Addison, who with his wife, Kim, moved into a Habitat for Humanity house in the El Rincon development in Bay Point.
"It's a little slice of heaven," he said of their tidy two-bedroom, two-story yellow house that is home to the couple, their 19-year-old son, and the family's three cats and two dogs. "We feel like we have a piece of the American dream."
Before moving into their new home a few weeks ago, the Addisons shared a one-bedroom duplex in East Oakland.
"The situation was dire. Our apartment was full of mold. It was getting bad. Our son had to use the living room as a bedroom," Bennie Addison said.
The Addisons signed up with Habitat for Humanity about a year ago and met the income criteria for the program, which also requires home-buying families to do 500 hours of sweat equity over a one-year period. Sweat-equity typically involves helping to build homes at the site that's under construction.
"We had to put in 500 hours of sweat equity but we went well beyond that," Bennie Addison said.
The Addisons and eight other families recently got the keys to their new homes near walking and hiking trails and the Pittsburg Bay Point BART station. The new homes are located at Bella Vista and Inglewood Avenue on a one-acre parcel that was once a gravel-covered lot considered a blight on the neighborhood.
"It took a long time to develop this piece of property," said
Besides applying sweat equity, Habitat for Humanity homebuyers take out a loan to purchase the home. The price is determined by the homebuyer's income, with the mortgage amount not to exceed 30 percent of a household's monthly income.
"In affordable housing, the cost of building the home versus the price of selling are two different things," Jensen explained. "It's always more to build a home than the ability to recoup the cost in the sales. That's why we do fundraising and have volunteers to fill in the gap between the cost (to build) and the sales price."
State, county and federal agencies contributed more than $2 million toward the El Rincon project. Corporate support included contributions from Wells Fargo, which recently donated $975,000 to Habitat affiliates throughout the Bay Area, Chevron, The Dean and Margaret Lesher Community Foundation, and Dow Chemical each contributed $100,000 toward the cost of building one of the homes. A $112,500 gift from PG&E covered the cost of installing solar panel systems on all nine homes.
The El Rincon development is the first Habitat project built in Bay Point. Future plans call for another Habitat development for an additional 20 new homes in Bay Point on a 2.5-acre parcel on Pacifica Avenue, said Jensen.
Since 1986, Habitat for Humanity East Bay has built 381 new homes in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189.