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Habitat For Humanity Turning Illegal Grow Houses Into Affordable Housing

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Homes used to grow marijuana illegally have been given new life in Sacramento.

Habitat for Humanity is trying something different by rehabbing these homes and turning them into affordable housing for families in need.

It's a second chance for a house in South Sacramento and a family in need.

Leah Miller is the president of Habitat for Humanity in Sacramento. She says the three-bedroom home was once used to grow marijuana illegally, but now her organization is clearing it out and renovating the entire home.

"We're in the midst of an affordable housing crisis here in our community in Sacramento and across our state," Miller said. "We have so far stripped the house down to the studs as you can tell, we've removed all the insulation, we'll be rewiring the house."

Habitat for Humanity partners with city leaders to acquire these houses and flip them in a financially beneficial way. Typically it costs about $200,000 to build a new home, but these grow house renovations cost less than half of that.

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"This will be great because it will not only provide an affordable housing opportunity for a low-income hard-working family, it will also help to revitalize this neighborhood," Miller said.

TC Roops has lived near this home for 50 years and says he's happy to see Habitat for Humanity do something with it.

"That's good. I really like that." Roops said.

John Mondi lives directly next to the house and says people have tried to break in while it was empty.

"I had to inform them that the house is getting set up for low income and they're not supposed to be in there," Mondi said.

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It's a problem city leaders want to avoid. A 2017 analysis estimates there are roughly 1,000 homes in Sacramento being used to grow marijuana illegally. Miller says these homes, often a blight on the community could now become a bright spot.

"That will be changed and turned into an opportunity where a family will use this home as a springboard out of poverty and on to a brighter future," Miller said.

Habitat for Humanity said the house they are currently working on will go to a single mom with three kids. It should be ready by the end of this year or beginning of next year.

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