A unique opportunity to find affordable housing will soon be available in Upper Bucks County. Construction recently began at Emerald Hollow, a new development with 37 townhomes planned for a 15 acre site in Trumbauersville. What makes Emerald Hollow unique is that the community's development is being sponsored by Habitat for Humanity of Bucks County, based in Doylestown, and the Interfaith Housing Development Corp. of Bristol. It marks the first time either agency has undertaken a project in Upper Bucks.
Habitat will make twelve of the homes available interest free and at cost to its client families, who must provide a minimum of 500 hours of personal labor toward completion of their home, while Interfaith Housing plans to find owners for thirteen more who will devote 100 hours of work and then pay a conventional mortgage. The remaining units will be sold on the open market. Over 125 families have already contacted the sponsors for information on becoming participants.
Quakertown National Bank will provide construction financing for the project. With a long history as a community bank serving the Upper Bucks area, the bank's management and Board of Directors applauded the Habitat and Interfaith organizations' efforts to improve the quality of life for families in the area. Also participating is First Savings Bank of Perkasie. Emerald Hollow received support from Bucks County commissioners, who approved $370,000 in funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help with construction.
Paul Landes, president of the Bucks County affiliate of Habitat, said the twelve homes sold on the open market will sell for $140,000 to $150,000, with homes offered to low-income families at prices ranging between $80,000 and $90,000, the estimated cost of construction. He said profits from the sales will be committed to helping fund the overall project, and that Emerald Hollow still needs about $900,000 in funding to complete construction.
U.S. Congressman James Greenwood, representing Bucks County's 8th Congressional District, said "Upper Bucks is a part of our county that is often overlooked by organizations that serve lower income citizens." He commended the creativity and vision of the sponsors in turning to town homes as a solution for affordable housing in an area where land costs are prohibitive. And Pennsylvania State Senator Joe Conti said that "this project . . . should be a shining example for use throughout Pennsylvania."
In addition to providing financing, QNB employees will continue their tradition of volunteerism by unselfishly assisiting in the project. However, more volunteers are needed. Volunteers will work on site from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Work groups and individuals can get more information by calling the Habitat office at 215-348-2204 x302. Orientation and safety guidelines are reviewed before the start of the workday. Tools are provided, but you may bring any favorites that you own. Support is also being sought in the form of donations. Contact the sponsors for more information on how you can help.
Habitat for Humanity of Bucks County
Phone: 215-348-2204, Fax: 215-348-7988
Interfaith Housing Development Corporation
Phone: 215-945-8630, Fax 215-945-8699