Blitz Build Blessing
In addition to providing housing for those in need, the Blitz Build project also aims to bring awareness to the lack of work-force housing and need for affordable housing on the Cape. “What many visitors—and even many residents—don’t fully grasp is the gap between local wages and the cost of housing,” says Victoria Goldsmith, executive director of HHCC. Goldsmith explains that people who live here year-round and who predominately work in industries such as tourism, construction, and services receive low-paying wages. She says housing prices on the Cape, however, are essentially driven by the incomes of individuals living here who’ve made their money elsewhere.
“We have a continuing challenge on the Cape,” Goldsmith says, “and we have a lot of people living in doubled-up circumstances, living with families, living in very unstable conditions, overcrowded conditions, people who have to move yearly because their rentals expire.” Goldsmith also raises the issue of land scarcity on the Cape—since much land is saved for parklands and conservation areas—and Duren mentions how there is only one- to two-acre zoning here, zoning that is not conducive to building higher density, cluster-type housing developments. Duren hopes that the Blitz Build brings “tangible” awareness to these issues of housing.
“This is one way for us to give back to the community, a way for us to bring awareness to the issue in hopes of changing some hearts and minds that having homes that are affordable are still beautiful homes, and we need to find ways to do more of that,” Duren says.
From blessings and prayers, to the approximately 50 community members joining hands, to the Vasquez boys running through the new home, the Blitz Build dedication ceremony that crisp Saturday afternoon is an inspiring one. Bob Ryley, HHCC director of construction, sums up the project best: “You have done much more than build a house in one week,” he said, addressing the many volunteers on hand. “What you’ve done is provide for this family’s security, shelter, independence, and a safe place to raise their children—a place they will be proud to call home.”
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