Mesilla Valley Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1987. Our first five sites were already owned by our homeowners because we simply did not have funds to buy land.
In 1991, we started receiving federal funds through the City of Las Cruces to buy vacant lots that were scattered throughout the older sections of yjr City. For several years we built one or two houses at a time. Since 1995, we have built in larger groups: seven homes on Organ Street, four homes on California Street, four homes on Durazno/Montana, and six homes at Elder/Willow and Ash Streets.
All of these homes were in the southeast or northeast part of the city. Four homes on Madero Street were the first in the city west of Main Street. Thus, it seemed logical to next consider the vacant areas around Palmer Street west of the railroad tracks.
The idea of a small Habitat subdivision in partnership with the City and several private contractors was born. Pueblitos de Las Cruces was built with planned landscaping, drainage, street lighting and special architectural details for a community of 15 total homes–eight of which were Habitat homes. These houses were finished in 2002.
Since then, we have built three homes on Fifth Street, six on Palmer Road, four on 6th Street and four on 2nd Street. We also built 3 homes on Pinon close to our office on Santa Fe. By the end of 2007, we had completed 67 homes in our 20 years.
Next to our office, we also built a minimal five-unit park for our RV visitors (Care-A-Vanners) that come from across the country to help us each building season.
In June 2007, we opened a ReStore as a supplemental source of funds for our affiliate’s activity. A Habitat ReStore is a store specializing in new and gently used construction materials and home furnishings. In less than 6 months, all the start-up costs were repaid and profits began to go into the construction program.
The 2007-08 Build year was a rebuilding year as we hired new staff, began a more coordinated resource development effort, and tried to find more vacant land on which to build. Very few vacant lots are left available in the inner city. We have had to go to the East Mesa, building 2 homes–one in 2007-08 and another this upcoming build season–for families that were living in substandard trailers on their own land. The City has made some land available to us for building this fall in a new subdivision on the East Mesa.