After delaying building for a year due to the pandemic, Habitat for Humanity of Sumner County broke ground last week on its first neighborhood, which will provide affordable housing for nine families in Gallatin.
Pafford Place, named after longtime volunteers Gordon and Robbie Pafford, will be located at 599 West Eastland Ave. directly across from North Maple Avenue.
“We fundraise and we have community partnerships, but when you build a neighborhood at a time you can keep those costs lower and provide more affordable homes for families here in Gallatin,” Habitat for Humanity of Sumner County Executive Director Kate Ritchie said about the development.
Officials expect it will take approximately six months to install the road and other infrastructure on the property before construction of the new homes starts later this year. It will then take two years complete the neighborhood.
Each home will be built without profit in partnership with the nonprofit organization and community volunteers. They are then offered at an affordable mortgage to families whose income would otherwise prevent them from owning their own home.
All of the families that will live in Pafford Place have already been selected, according to Ritchie.
“The need for affordable housing in Sumner County is increasing,” Gallatin Mayor Paige Brown told those who attended the groundbreaking on March 24. “You’ve seen the growth. You’ve seen the people moving here and that has made home prices escalate so substantially that it is very, very hard for a person to find a home here in our city.
“Like many cities in Middle Tennessee, Gallatin is faced with a complex issue of overall affordability in our city, so Habitat is part of our solution.”
According to Brown, the median list price for a home in Sumner County is $349,000, which requires an annual salary of $61,000 to afford. However, the median household income in Gallatin is only $48,000.
Additionally, she said that 23 percent of homeowners and 42 percent of renters in the county are considered to be cost-burdened. Those numbers are “even greater” when looking specifically at Gallatin.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, cost-burdened families are those who spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care.
“Better, affordable living conditions lead to improved health, stronger childhood development and the ability and financial flexibility to make forward-looking choices,” Ritchie said. “A decent place to live and an affordable mortgage create a unique situation where homeowners can save more, invest in education, pursue opportunities and have more financial stability.”
The property for Pafford Place was donated by Wilda Dodson and Bill Hudgins.
Since 1995, Habitat for Humanity of Sumner County has built 65 homes for families across the county.
Once all nine homes in the development are built, Ritchie said the nonprofit will be looking to build other neighborhoods across the county.
“We’re always looking for more land opportunities,” she added. “This (project) is moving us from a home builder to a community builder and we will do the neighborhood model from here on out.”
Anyone interested in volunteering to build homes in Pafford Place can visit Habitat for Humanity of Sumner County’s website at www.habitatsumnercounty.org or contact (615) 452-9606.