Habitat for Humanity Boone County Unveils Grace Fields
Habitat for Humanity of Boone County builds and repairs affordable and sustainable homes in partnership with hardworking low-income families, individuals, and communities. Together with volunteers and future homeowners, Habitat Boone County has improved the housing stock throughout our service area. Currently, Habitat Boone County has invested over $6 million in helping families, revitalizing neighborhoods, and creating more access to affordable housing.
I spoke with Liz Qua, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Boone County (HFHBC), about the organization’s latest fundraising campaign supporting its most enterprising project to date: developing Grace Fields in Whitestown, Indiana.
Grace and Shelter
Grace Fields is slated to be a 24-lot community providing “grace and shelter” for hardworking families in Boone County.
Qua shared that Boone County is facing a housing crisis. With the imminent growth forecasted for the county and the LEAP District and Eli Lilly projects coming online in the near future, the need for more affordable housing is even more pressing. Disproportionately low wages and high housing costs are the leading factors to housing vulnerability for many Boone County residents.
The HFHBC board and staff believe that Grace Fields is the answer to many prayers from its organization and the families it serves. Scarcity of land has been an issue for HFHBC for many years. So, in 2021, Qua shared how HFHBC purchased the 8-acre site in Whitestown, IN, from the Lebanon Public Library.
HFHBC launched its capital campaign in January 2023 and has raised just over $1 million. To complete the necessary site development, the organization needs to raise an additional $500,000 for the necessary infrastructure before it can build the first home.
Dream It Until It Becomes a Reality
HFHBC began dreaming of a community where families can prosper in safe, affordable homes. The investment benefits not only the homeowners but the entire county community as well.
“We hired consultants to help us with the feasibility study, but all of the fundraising has been done by us,” Qua explained. “Stacy Snively and I have been to all the necessary meetings, and I’d say this [fundraising] has been as grassroots as you can get. It’s just a group of people with no development training, sharing a vision and raising $1 million to date. I’m pretty proud of that, and it’s not that hard when you have a vision that people can understand and want to support.”
The property is located in the Legacy Core area of downtown Whitestown at 503 South Pierce Street.
“We are putting in 24 homes, and this development is the first of its kind in the local area,” Qua said. “There are other [Habitat developments] throughout the state and certainly throughout the country. We have been told it’s about a 3-4 month buildout for the infrastructure, and our initial bids have been at $1.5 million, so we need to raise another $500,000. We are just a couple of weeks away from getting the final stamp of approval from the county surveyors and the town of Whitestown, and we’ve already been through the public hearings and all of that. The property is already zoned for single-family housing and needs no variances. Our goal is to start pushing dirt in March and to have it completely done by June or July so that we can start building [homes] at the end of this summer. We’re hoping to get three homes a year on that property. We just need to raise the money.”
HFHBC expects the project to be a 5 to 8-year buildout and will provide it with the land it has been desperately searching for to meet its annual quota of building three homes per year.
Just like any other developer, Grace Fields will have to meet all requirements set by the town and county. Qua emphasized that the homes built will have to pass the same inspections and building standards as any other newly constructed home.
“People think we build for poor people,” Qua stated. “We build for people [who] want affordable housing. It’s a national issue, too—we need housing, and we want our people to have generational wealth that they can share with their kids and change their lives forever. Grace Fields is a very intentional name. It was picked by our board, trying to describe what we do as an organization and how we try to lead with grace.”
The homes in Grace Fields will offer mostly three bedrooms and two baths with two-car attached garage floor plans. The houses will have different elevations and roof lines so that they aren’t all the same design.
Please join us in supporting this important mission to improve lives and an opportunity to invest in our Boone County community. Donations can be made online!