On Monday, April 9th, Habitat for Humanity (HFH) of Greater Los Angeles held its inaugural Dawn to Dusk Golf Marathon at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana and raised over $160,000 to go exclusively toward five new townhouses to be built in Santa Monica.

Participants included lawyers, executives and entrepreneurs from the financial and entertainment industries, among others, and many of the players raised over $10,000 each to go toward the townhomes, said Kristina Irwin, public relations person for HFH of Greater Los Angeles.

ìWeíre still receiving funds and I think weíre going to get pretty close to our goal of $200,000,î said Erin Rank, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of HFH of Greater Los Angeles.

The five townhouses, to be built in partnership with the City of Santa Monica, will soon be residences for five families that are either working full-time in Santa Monica or currently living in the city.

They will be built at 2018 19th St. ó on a 9,000-square-foot piece of land ó as one large structure with underground parking, Rank said. Each townhome will have three bedrooms.

The families to occupy the homes have not yet been selected. They are expected to be chosen at the end of May or in early June, Irwin said.

Itís important to note that the families must have a ìsevere need for safe and affordable homeownership,î Rank said.

The reason Habitat for Humanity decided on Santa Monica as the location for the townhomes is that the city approached the organization with an interest in doing affordable homeownership, Rank said.

ìTheyíve invested for a long time in affordable rental housing and they wanted to invest in some affordable homeownership,î she said.

The city provided the funding for Habitat for Humanity to buy the property the homes will be built on, Rank said.

Part of what will make these townhomes affordable for the five families that will occupy them is that ìHabitat for Humanity offers zero-interest loans for the mortgage payments,î Rank said. ìThatís what keeps the payments low.î

Also, the payments wonít be more than 35 percent of the familyís gross income, Rank said.

Additionally, the families will put 500 hours of ìsweat equityî into building their houses.

ìThey help build their own houses, so that goes to their down-payment,î Irwin said. ìItís a really heart-felt event. Itís amazing.î

Other volunteers from churches and other faith groups, corporations and civic groups, as well as individuals, also help build the homes doing jobs such as painting and installing dry wall, cabinets and electrical fixtures.

Weíre very excited about this project in Santa Monica,î said Rank. ìIt represents hope for families at having a shot at homeownership. I think a lot of families are discouraged in L.A. County. I think this is exciting that families currently living and working in Santa Monica will finally be able to own a home.î

Rank said that the goal is to have permits issued by the end of the month.

ìThen weíll go out to bid to get our contractors lined up and then weíll begin construction,î she said.

Rank said itís important to note that there will be resale restrictions on the townhouses, so if a family decides to sell the home, it ìmust always be sold to an income-qualified family.î

Habitat for Humanity is described as a nonprofit ìecumenical Christianî housing organization that builds simple, decent, affordable housing in partnership with people in need, organization officials say.

ìIt engages people from all walks of life to become actively engaged in providing a solution to the housing crisis facing our community,î Rank said. ìWe only focus on homeownership and we only sell our homes at cost with zero-interest loans so that working families in Los Angeles County are able to afford to buy their first homes.î

For now, thereís a lot of groundwork to be done as Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles works to get permits and start getting bids from contractors for the Santa Monica project.

ìEvery habitat project is exciting,î Irwin said. ìItís a lot of work but itís a big payoff, so this project will definitely be exciting.î

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