Santa Fe first work day

Trip Start Nov 26, 2010
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Trip End Nov 18, 2011


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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    I am in Santa Fe, New Mexico working with the Habitat for Humanity affiliate here.  The Executive Director is Ted Swisher.  He is a lo-o-o-n-n-n-g time Habitatter.  We met in Americus Georgia a number of years ago while he was working for Habitat International and I was volunteering for one of the week-long blitz builds.  More about Ted in the next blog.  The affiliate was started here in 1987.  This week they will dedicate the completion of houses number 74 and 75.  They build around 6 or 7 simple, decent, (and Santa Fe building code required details) homes per year for families who are in need of a hand up, not a hand out. They have their office and Re-Store in a combined but divided space in a shopping mall on the main drag through Santa Fe.  They run their operation here with a paid full and partime staff of about 14 people which includes two full time Americorp yearlong employees.   The current project is being built on a site that, ahem, let's say has some issues.  Long story short, they bought the developed lot with approved plans for placement of homes and infrastructure (roads, utilities) from a developer who has since gone bankrupt and the property is now owned by the bank who is not sure what to do about the road that (oops) got put in the wrong place by a few feet.  Little ripple effect going on with placement of sidewalks and greenspaces between roads and sidewalks with the building inspector.   Anyway, as they say, life goes on.  Worked today helping to remove said sidewalk to allow the subcontractor to re-form it in the new right place.  Never enough time to do it right, always enough time to do it twice.  Also helped get one of the houses ready for the exterior stucco.  The wall construction is 2 x 4 (24" centers) then 1/2" OSB sheathing, then 2" thick rigid styrofoam board, then 30 lb. felt paper, then flashing, metal trim and like chicken wire mesh and lathe.  Then the base coat of portland cement stucco and a paint-already-mixed-in-sprayed on finish coat.  The homes are also required to have flat roofs with parapet walls with little "canalles" (sp?)- spanish word for canals?  see picture to drain the roof of any rainwater.  Don't quite understand that just because people did something stupid 100 years ago, we still have to do it that way.  The building code also has a number of "green" building practices built in and required in all new construction.   The affiliate has been able to maintain the current building level with the use of business and personal donations as well as Federal CDBG grants, although with budget cutting a hot topic, seems like that will dry up soon.  New Mexico has an interesting offer for individuals who donate over $1,000 to a non-profit for affordable housing, they can claim and receive 50% off of their NM state tax liability.  Another 25% can be off in sales tax, so that Habitat would receive the full $1,000, but the donor would actually only be out $250.  Katharine (board member and family selection committe member) said that personal donations have still been pretty constant even with the last few years of economic turmoil. 
      Got my new phone courtesy of the insurance and the Fedex man.  Next day delivery set up in Texas from the provider in Tennesse and shipped to New Mexico.  It is a great country we live in.  That's all for now.    Peter
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