Community Rebuilds, an area nonprofit dedicated to building energy-efficient affordable housing, will open two of its new homes to the public on Wednesday, June 28.
Located at 17 and 18 La Sal Road, the doors will be open from 2 to 7 p.m., and the open houses will allow prospective homeowners and community members to preview nearly completed construction – and learn about the sustainable building methods used.
“Our housing typology is unique, where the products we use (including clay, sand and straw) to build the homes are very inexpensive,” Community Rebuilds founder and Executive Director Emily Niehaus said.
According to Niehaus, Community Rebuilds can build homes for as little as $70 per square foot, and is able to utilize solar panels on every project.
Prospective homeowner applicants must show two years of employment history within the community and must meet income and credit requirements accordingly for a low-interest U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development home loan.
Kelli Quinn, the new homeowner at 18 La Sal Road, acknowledged the difficulties she encountered when she was searching for affordable housing in Moab.
Quinn moved to Moab in 2014 for a Student Conservation Association (SCA) internship with the National Park Service. The internship turned into a full-time job a year later, and as she began to look at the housing market, Quinn realized that affording a house in Moab was a “pipe dream” – even though she had a steady, year-round job and a great credit score.
“I wanted to lay down roots here and feel involved in the community and when I was looking for housing, I couldn’t afford anything,” Quinn said. “Community Rebuilds has allowed me to lay down roots in Moab and have a really awesome sustainable house at an affordable price.”
Community Rebuilds relies heavily on student intern volunteers – who hail from around the globe – to subsidize the costs of construction.
“Students get a hands-on education,” Niehaus said. “Everyone receives something by participating in our program.”
She also previewed “new, exciting” plans for the fall.
Community Rebuilds Program Director Rikki Epperson was hesitant to reveal too much prior to pending council approval, but she shared plans for a “smaller, more affordable unit,” which is said to have two bedrooms and one bathroom.
“We will also venture into multifamily dwellings this fall beginning with our first twin home in Moab,” she said.
This will mark Community Rebuilds’ second multifamily project. The first, a three-story straw-bale twin home, was built in Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado, in February 2017.
The Town of Mt. Crested Butte, subject to a severe affordable housing problem, collaborated with Crested Butte Mountain Resort to develop lots for affordable housing development.
According to Niehaus, “Community members and contractors asked if CR would be willing to share our model, and so we took advantage of affordable lots to demonstrate our successful housing typology, combined with a student education program.”
Nonprofit opens two new houses to the public on June 28
What: Community Rebuilds Open House
When: Wednesday, June 28, from 2 to 7 p.m.
Where: 17 and 18 La Sal Road
To learn more about Community Rebuilds and sustainable building methods, visit: www.communityrebuilds.org.