EVANS, Colo. -- Parts of Colorado are still recovering from the Great Flood of 2013, which heavily damaged or destroyed 200 homes in the Evans area alone.
Now, thanks to a state disaster grant, Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity and Commonwealth Companies are partnering on two projects that will build a total of 95 new affordable homes.
"Affordable housing is at a crisis point," said Cheri Witt-Brown, Habitat's executive director. "We have seen housing prices escalate to all time historic highs here in our state."
Witt-Brown said Commonwealth will build 68 townhomes and cottages and Habitat will build 26 paired homes and single-family homes on 12 acres of property near Prairie View Park, just off Harbor Lane.
Thomas Spratte, Jr. will get one of the first ones built.
"I'm very emotional about this," he said.
Spratte suffered life-changing injuries in a car crash in 2007. He lost mobility in both his arms and legs, and now uses a wheel chair.
"I had pretty much written off ever owning a home," he said. "For this to come true, I’m flabbergasted."
Spratte will be living next door to his best friend, Jaclyn, who also has a disability.
"To be neighbors again and to be close is a huge blessing," he said. "It makes it possible for me to just say, 'Hey Jackie, what are you doing,' and if I need to talk with her, (or commiserate) with each other, we’re there."
Witt Brown said Habitat became aware of an opportunity to apply for what was left of the 2013 flood disaster relief fund.
"The state felt that Evans had been underserved after the flood," she said. "They had a prescribed model of what they wanted to see, and that was a mix of residential rentals as well as home-ownership units."
Greeley-Weld Habitat's Board President, Matt Notter, who is also the Chief Financial Officer of Roche Constructors, said Roche and other utility partners will begin work on infrastructure in about two months.
He said Commonwealth will have it's own construction team, and that Habitat will have its volunteers and homeowners taking the lead on their part of the project.
"By November we should start to see some home construction begin," he said.
Notter said Commonwealth will likely finish its work by September of 2020, and that Habitat will finish its work about two years after that.
Witt-Brown said this project is only possible because of "hard work by many, many people."
She mentioned one engineer specifically.
"She worked night after night without sleep, just so we could get his project engineered and meet the city’s timelines," she said.
Notter said that in addition to building the homes, both Commonwealth and Habitat will help the City of Evans extend a couple of major roads.
"We're going to extend Quay Street to the east," he said, "and work with the city on extending 23rd Avenue, which will help traffic flow in the neighborhood quite a bit."
He said it takes volunteers, donors and community partners to get it done.
"So, I implore everyone, if you have a local affiliate, help them out. Donate money, go volunteer on a job site, join a board, join a subcommittee," he said. "They need the help."