Applications are now being accepted for a new affordable housing development in the works in Williams.
Facilitated by the Community Housing Improvement Program, or CHIP, the project - slated for 23 lots located at Heron Way off Larch Drive – will be the first development of its kind within the city.
“Colusa County has been part of our service area for several years, but this will be our first project in Williams,” said Jill Quezada, director of homeownership for CHIP. “Land can be difficult to find, especially subdivision lots that already have improvements and are ready for house construction. We are thrilled to find these lots and have the opportunity to provide quality, affordable homeownership to families in Williams and the surrounding area.”
CHIPS is a non-profit affordable housing developer that has operated the self-help housing program for 38 years, according to Quezada, helping to build almost 2000 homes to date.
“Not everyone is ready for homeownership, but for those who are, it offers financial stability and a sense of permanence and community that can’t be achieved from renting,” said Quezada.
To qualify for the program, applicants must have sufficient income to make monthly mortgage payments, have good credit and must be will to work collaboratively with a group of homeowners to help build the home as the program requires applicants to participate in the building process.
“The self-help program is unique in that homeowners help to build their own homes under the instruction and training of CHIP staff,” said Quezada. “The homeowners learn lifelong construction skills that enable them to both repair and improve their homes. They also gain an opportunity for building relationships with their neighbors long before move-in.”
Quezada said during this difficult period of COVID-19 and the resulting economic insecurity, the CHIPS program is particularly relevant.
“Our lender will decrease mortgage payments if a household loses significant income, and can stop payments altogether for up to two years,” said Quezada.
Applicants must also meet income limits for qualify for the project. Household income for a home with one to four people must not exceed $55,900 or $73,800 for a household of five through eight people.
Quezada said applications for the project will be accepted until all 23 eligible households have been identified.
“Currently the project is in design review with the City of Williams,” said Quezada. “Following their approval, we will be able to finalize costs and house plans and move forward with putting loan packages together for our lender, USDA Rural Development.”
Quezada said they hope to begin house construction in the spring of 2021.
“The project will be broken up into three construction groups, with each group helping to build all of the homes within that group,” said Quezada.
According to Quezada, it takes about 12 to 16 months to complete a group of homes.
These homes will range in size from 1300 to about 1575 square feet and will include three to five bedrooms, two bathrooms, an attached two-car garage, tile roofs and solar panels.