Bringing affordable homeownership to Rifle

Habitat for Humanity Roaring Fork Valley has a lot to crow about. The organization relies exclusively on community partners, volunteers and donations to fulfill its ambitious mission of building affordable homes in its affiliate service area from Aspen to Glenwood to Parachute. They lay claim to creating the first (and award-winning) rural Colorado net-zero affordable housing community. That’s the Basalt Vista project, which houses 27 families. And they’re about to do it again.

Wapiti Commons in South Rifle broke ground in March 2022, with plans for ten townhomes and two condos for workforce families plus eight condos for active senior adults. Completion by winter 2024 is anticipated. The result will be another affordable, energy-efficient, thriving community that will enable working families in Rifle to live close to where they work — plus provide stable homes for local older adults. 

The wide gap between the region’s housing costs and actual wages makes it difficult to recruit and keep the people who help make a safe, healthy, thriving community. Teachers are among those most impacted by this lack of affordable housing. But the problem extends to others essential to the workforce — from first responders and healthcare workers, to hospitality and retail staff; tradespeople to small business owners.

“To attract and retain critical personnel in our region, we need housing. If our workforce doesn’t have stability, neither does our community,” says Habitat president Gail Schwartz. “Habitat creates sustainable communities where families and individuals can thrive, benefiting from affordable, energy- efficient places to call home.” 

What makes Gail and her team leap out of bed each day to keep moving their mission forward? 

“We get to be a driving force in equitable affordable housing, pursue our green mission of sustainability, and repurpose donated home goods and building supplies at the ReStore. And we do it all with the support of our partners, volunteers and community,” says Gail. “Alpine Bank has been an amazing supporter and partner to Habitat, from board participation to monetary donations, sponsorships of our events to processing our construction and PPP loans. We couldn’t do without Alpine Bank.”

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