Work begins on San Juan County's 13th Habitat for Humanity home

Farmington mother and three children will move into house later this year

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
Farmington resident Carlla Lobato and her three children will move into the new home being constructed on Crouch Mesa by Tres Rios Habitat for Humanity later this year.
  • The organization typically builds one new home per year in the county.
  • The process usually takes six months.
  • The home is being built adjacent to two other Habitat homes on Crouch Mesa, where the organization owned several lots.

FARMINGTON — Officials from Tres Rios Habitat for Humanity began construction on their 13th house in San Juan County last week, a three-bedroom home on Crouch Mesa that will be sold to a Farmington woman with three children.

Hope Tyler, the spokesperson for the nonprofit organization, said a crew of volunteers, led by Greg Anderson, Habitat's construction manager, built all the forms for the home's foundation, and concrete will be poured this week.

The organization typically builds one new home per year in the county, and construction usually doesn't begin until March. But Tyler said an unusually mild winter this year has allowed Habitat workers to get a jump on the home-building process, which usually takes six months. That means the organization is hoping to finish this house by late summer or early fall.

Tres Rios Habitat for Humanity construction manager Greg Anderson, right, helps a volunteer workers build a concrete form for the foundation of the organization's newest home on Crouch Mesa.

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The home is being built adjacent to two other Habitat homes on Crouch Mesa, where the organization owned several lots. But Tyler pointed out the construction of this home is likely to be one of the more challenging projects the organization has taken on.

"This time around, there are a lot of differences because all of the construction costs have gone up, and the shipping of some supplies has been slowed down," she said.

The home is being built for Farmington resident Carlla Lobato, mother of 14- and 7-year-old daughters and a 4-year-old son. A lifelong San Juan County resident, Lobato learned about Habitat through a friend who works with a former board member for the organization.

Lobato has told Habitat officials she is very excited about taking part in the program, as this will be the first time she and her family have ever had the chance to call a home their own. As part of her purchase agreement, Lobato will put in 200 hours of work on the home or another Habitat project.

Greg Anderson

Although some of the work on Habitat homes has to be done by trained professionals, including most of the electrical and plumbing work, Tyler said the organization continues to rely heavily on volunteers. She said work on the new home typically begins at 9 a.m. every Friday and Saturday, and everyone is welcome to lend a hand.

Anyone who wants to be alerted about volunteer work days can reach out to Tyler at habitatsanjuan@gmail. Tyler said all volunteers are supervised by Anderson, who has helped the organization build four homes over the last six years. She said he guides and trains volunteers in every aspect of the work from the foundation to the finish.

The organization is gearing up for other projects this year, as well, Tyler said. She said the Habitat board of directors recently approved the purchase of a new truck for The Habitat Store at 1915 E. Murray Drive in Farmington, an acquisition that should allow the organization to accept and pick up more donations.

Volunteer workers help prepare the site of the Tres Rios Habitat for Humanity home on Crouch Mesa for the pouring of the concrete foundation.

And Habitat is partnering with two organizations — Infiltrator Water Technologies and the International Water Sanitation and Hygiene Foundation, both based on the East Coast — to install an innovative new septic tank system in the Lobato home, as well as several new systems in homes on the Navajo Nation this summer.

Tyler said the systems are specially designed to operate on smaller lots than normal. She said IWSH installed six such systems on the Navajo Nation last summer, but this year will mark the first time the local Habitat chapter has worked with that organization.

A celebration of the construction of the new home will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 26 at 33 County Road 3319. Visit tresrioshabitat.com or call 505-326-5379 for more information.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.