Dayton’s CAHI regretfully set to move to Carson
December 20, 2006
DAYTON – Members of the community gathered Saturday to say their goodbyes to Citizens for Affordable Homes. After two years at its Dayton facility, the organization is returning to Carson City.
CAHI, which helps low-income families build homes, has found itself in search of its own home since it was ordered to move following a more than yearlong battle with Lyon County commissioners and neighbors.
“The move is finally in process, and should be complete by Jan. 15,” said Ron Trunk, CAHI’s chief executive officer. “We tried to find a suitable location in Dayton, but for now, we will be located upstairs in the Citibank building at 308 Curry Street, Suite 101.”
The organization had been in negotiations with Millard Realty to secure approximately 1,700 square feet of space in Occidental Square’s phase 3, on the west side of Highway 50 and Occidental Drive.
Due to time constraints, other options had to be explored.
“We want good working relationships and want to be a good neighbor to Lyon County so we will keep our eyes open for (future space) in Dayton,” Trunk said.
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In spite of the hurdles CAHI has faced, he looks forward to continuing the work that has helped countless families realize their dream of home ownership.
In addition to providing families with the opportunity to build their own homes, CAHI provides a variety of support and incentive programs.
“We provide down payment assistance to family/builders and have market-rate families as well,” Trunk said.
Working with the Western Nevada Home Consortium, CAHI has access to a down payment loan program. It also offers free housing- and credit-counseling programs.
Post-occupancy counseling requires families, once they’re in their homes, to meet as a group and individually over a year. Upon completion, they receive $1,000.
“The beauty of it is that we’re teaching people what not to do, teaching financial procedures that help eliminate foreclosures,” he said. “The money is an added incentive.”
“The families can use the money for whatever they choose,” said Toni VanCleave, marketing and special-events coordinator. “Some of them have used it to build all those cute little fences we see going up or decks off the back of the houses. They can use it to buy furniture for their homes, anything.”
Every Home a Classroom is another program CAHI offers. Any family member age 16 years or older can volunteer a total of 16 hours (three people in a family could each work 3 1/3 hours) to qualify for a computer from ComputerCorps.
Staff have also worked with Rite of Passage youth, teaching them trades then helping to find employment. On average, participants saw a 2.4 percent increase in grade levels.
“I am very proud of what the board of directors and staff have accomplished and the leadership qualities they’ve shown,” Trunk said. “To face the challenges and adversity and still show up each day with a commitment to do a wonderful job is a great thing.”
Trunk pointed out the cost of supplying water to a home is $21,000 and an additional $20,000 in county fees.
“Before we do anything, the cost is already substantial, and water rights have been an additional challenge (increasing the cost of building),” he said. “But we’re still able to get these families into a 1,588-square-foot home for $166,000 which immediately appraises for approximately $250,000.”
He added that CAHI has been able to accomplish throughout Nevada, what it has taken 13 agencies in California to do.
“The hardest thing for me is that I won’t be able to look out the window and watch how quickly the homes are built,” VanCleave said. “When prospective families come in to talk with us about building their own home, it’s wonderful to be able to show them what they’ll be doing and what their neighborhood looks like.
“That’s far more powerful than showing them photographs.”
No matter where the office is housed, though, CAHI will continue to meet its mission of putting people in homes, Trunk said.
“I love this organization, and as long as I’m breathing, I’ll be here,” he
“I love CAHI and the staff, who are so dedicated and have to be to get done what needs to be done.”