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Habitat for Humanity opens housing in Redwood City to 20 families

Habitat for Humanity opens housing in Redwood City to 20 families
Habitat for Humanity opens housing in Redwood City to 20 families 02:34

REDWOOD CITY (KPIX) -- Twenty families moved into a brand new, affordable housing development that they all helped build in Redwood City.

It's called 612 Jefferson and the project was spearheaded by Habitat for Humanity.

"Regional homeownership is out of reach for most people. In the Bay Area, you have to make well over $350,000 a year to own a home. So, what happens to our teachers, our daycare workers, our construction workers, our clergy, our first responders? They have to move far away," said Maureen Sedonaen, CEO of Habitat Greater San Francisco.

"Now, we're proud to say today that 20 families don't have to do that anymore. They get to be right here."

The families who moved into the 20 units at the development didn't have to make a down payment. They have a 0% mortgage interest rate and their total housing costs are capped at 30% of their overall household income.

They did, however, have to put in so-called "sweat equity."

"We all worked on this place. We all did 500 hours," said Jose Rodriguez, a new homeowner. "I'm super appreciative of the opportunity that Habitat has given us to be able to have home ownership."

Silvia Antonelli, a Redwood City teacher for many years, is one of the new homeowners who just moved into the building.

"I feel lucky and I feel grateful," she said.

Habitat for Humanity Project in Redwood City
Redwood City affordable housing. KPIX

For her, homeownership in this area never really seemed attainable.

"Owning a house in the Bay Area and the Peninsula, it's hard if you don't make a lot of money," she said. "I'm grateful for Habitat and, I don't know, the universe, for allowing me to have this opportunity and share it with my daughter."

Redwood City mayor Giselle Hale says the project has been a long time coming.

"These are homes they will own. It will create permanent stability for them, for their children and for their families," she said. "Housing is the number one need in our community, so we take it really seriously."

She says 612 Jefferson is just one example of how Redwood City is trying to add more affordable housing to the area.

"A lot of cities are fighting against having to fulfill their state housing goals. Redwood City actually submitted over 170% of our goal. We're even focused on extremely low-income housing. That's housing to serve the most needy, the most essential of our workers," she said. "This is possible in every community across the Bay Area. If we all work together, we can make sure that everyone has a decent place to call home."

Habitat's first homes for homeownership in Redwood City were built in 2000  at Hope Court. Habitat has another development coming to the city that will include 33 homes for homeownership.

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