Heart of Oregon Corps' youth are building an affordable home in Prineville, and the application period is about to open for families.
The first of three information sessions for prospective homebuyers is set for 4 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 18 at the Heart of Oregon Corps office at Ochoco Crossing in Prineville.
Heart of Oregon Corps Development and Communications Director Rebekah Altman said the purpose of the information sessions is to explain the eligibility requirements and process for families to apply while also hearing from one of the Prineville youth building the home.
"We're opening it up to the community," Altman said, noting that the sale of the house is contingent upon the chosen applicant being able to successfully secure a mortgage. "We want people to get excited about the possibility of owning an affordable home."
Prospective applicants are required to attend one of the information sessions.
Other sessions are planned for 10 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday July 31 and 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4 at the Heart of Oregon Prineville office.
The local nonprofit Heart of Oregon Corps' YouthBuild Program is building an energy-efficient, three-bedroom, two-bath, single-family home in Prineville. The home will cost $165,000. Applicant household must be 80% of area median income or below.
During the information sessions, interested families will learn about who can apply and how; how the buyer will be chosen; and the key steps and deadlines to apply. The application deadline is Sept. 13.
The home is located on Laurel Lane just south of Crook County Middle School. The lot became available when Habitat for Humanity discontinued its Prineville branch in June 2016. Habitat decided to donate the lot to the YouthBuild program with the expectation that they would eventually develop it into affordable housing.
Funding for the Prineville project comes from a $1.1 million U.S. Department of Labor grant awarded to the YouthBuild program, which is based in Sisters.
They broke ground on the home in early April and plan for it to be move-in ready in February 2020.
The program serves approximately 60 youth annually, ages 16 to 24, primarily from the communities of Sisters, Madras, Warm Springs, Prineville, Redmond and Culver. Youth earn a small living stipend and regional bus pass while attending the program for 12 full months.
A nine-member staff team of teachers, construction trainers and counselors comprehensively support the youth who face a number of challenges such as poverty, childhood trauma, housing insecurity, foster care, disability-related challenges, or teen parenthood.
A network of schools, agencies, nonprofits and family members refer youth who have to apply and prove eligibility, interview and compete for a spot in the program.
Currently, 35 youth are working on the Prineville house project, but Altman said by the time it is completed, 60 to 70 youth will have been a part of the project. They will be onboarding two more cohorts of roughly 20 youth each before project's end.
There are currently two Prineville youth working on the project, Koral Fisher and Bryce Fear, both age 17.
The community and potential buyers are also welcome to a wall-raising ceremony from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, July 2 at the worksite.
"In addition to seeking families to apply before Sept. 13, we are also recruiting youth," Altman said. "We are actively recruiting in Prineville for all Heart of Oregon Corps programs."
Heart of Oregon Corps YouthBuild Information Session
Date: 4-5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 18
Location: Heart of Oregon Prineville office, 495 Locust Ave.
Information will be available in Spanish and TTY services.
To learn more or apply, visit heartoforegon.org/Prineville-home.
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