WEST FARGO — Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity is gearing up for a homebuilding blitz that aims to build three homes for local families with hundreds of volunteers, including some who will be traveling here from out of state.
The intensive homebuilding effort — called Dakota Blitz 3:10, Three Homes: 10 Days — is a partnership between Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity and Blitz Home Builders.
The effort will begin Wednesday, June 19, and conclude Saturday, June 29 will the dedication of the three new homes. The building will occur 7:30 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. June 19 to 28.
Lake Agassiz Habitat, which has built 60 homes since it was founded 28 years ago, was selected from almost 1,400 Habitat for Humanity chapters in the U.S. as the partner for Blitz Home Builders’ 2019 initiative.
“We’re pretty honored that they selected us,” said Pete Christopher, resource development and marketing manager for Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity.
More than 90 Blitz Home Builders volunteers from 19 states will be coming to build the homes, all located on the same block in a new development in West Fargo on land donated by Enclave Development.
“It’s basically one big event,” Christopher said.
Other sponsors for the homebuilding blitz include Gate City Bank, Thrivent Financial and Offutt Family Foundation.
The out-of-state volunteers — coming from as far as Hawaii, California and New Jersey — will be joined by 600 local volunteers who will help in building the homes as well as associated activities including hospitality, promotion and shuttling volunteers.
“We do have a small army,” Christopher said.
The three families who will buy the homes also will help build them. Habitat for Humanity requires all of its future homeowners to contribute 250 hours of “sweat equity,” an approach the program’s backers call a “hand up” instead of a “hand out.”
“Habitat homes are not free,” Christopher said.
Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity members say the need for affordable housing in Fargo-Moorhead is great. Almost 13,000 households in Cass and Clay counties pay more than half of their income on housing, which forces those families to choose between rent and putting food on the table, according to the group.
This year, Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity has received 50 applications for homes, 10 of whom were deemed qualified, but were only able to select three.
Danielle Stone, a volunteer with Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity and Blitz Home Builders, hopes the homebuilding blitz will kickstart a higher level of engagement in the metro area.
Sioux Falls, S.D., which Blitz Home Builders visited in 2011, now builds 10 new homes per year, but a decade ago built two or three per year, the number in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area, she said.
“They were hoping to spearhead the growth in the area because of the need,” Stone said of Blitz Home Builders’ interest in the area.
So far, 91 Blitz volunteers plan to participate, a number Stone and Christopher said is a record.
“I think a lot of people like the Midwest,” Stone said. “It’s kind of a central location.”
Stone, a Fargo woman who serves on the site selection committee of Blitz Home Builders, helped West Fargo emerge as the location of this year’s homebuilding blitz.
“I’m excited to bring the Blitz homebuilders to my hometown,” she said. “I grew up in West Fargo.”
To date, Blitz Home Builders have built 75 homes.
The location of the homebuilding blitz is 1157 Highland Lane West in West Fargo — but volunteers and visitors are asked to park at Brooks Harbor School, 801 22nd Ave. W., West Fargo, and will be shuttled to the site.
For more information and to meet the families who will be moving into the homes, go online to www.lakeagassizhabitat.org/blitz.