Covering the Land of Lincoln

Affordable, energy efficient houses to be built in Rockford

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – The city of Rockford puts plans into motion to build a residential neighborhood for low-income families.

Project leaders say developers not only plan to build homes that are entirely dependent on electricity, but the houses will go up within a safe distance for students to walk to school.

“It really just came organically out of a conversation where a construction teacher was really just looking for construction projects,” said Keri Asevedo, who is the executive director for Habitat for Humanity.

By 2026, the backyard of Auburn High School in Rockford will look a lot different.

“We are going to put a path system. To connect that school campus with right now you see a tree-line and a fence, with a path system will be really helpful for people living here either working or going to school next door,” said Michael Dunn, the executive director with R1 Planning Council.

The city, Region-1 Planning Council and Habitat for Humanity will pool its resources to build a neighborhood in the Emerson Estates Subdivision. These houses will be for low-income families that also allow students to walk safely to school.

“To be able to dig Geo-Thermal wells right here where we stand to ensure our homeowners were not reliant on natural gas in the future. That means so much,” said Asevedo.

She says this neighborhood will be the first in Rockford that’s entirely dependent on electricity. Even the garages will be built with EV charging stations inside.

“I happen to be in the right room at the right time and that has blossomed this huge partnership,” Asevedo explained.

Project leaders say this is good news, as it will boost the value of homes already built in the area.

“Habitat has a rich history of having district 205 students help build these homes and learn a skill while still in high school, so that will be neat too,” said Dunn.

Ten houses are set to be built by 2023, 12 by 2024 and eventually a total of 30 homes by 2026.

Habitat for Humanity leaders say anyone can volunteer to help build a home. Just visit Habitat’s website for more information.

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