Our Mission

H.E.L.P. (House, Empower, & Lift People) provides affordable cottages for low-, median-, and moderate-income families and individuals in a micro-village setting.

Our Plan

Prospector Village will be a master-planned community that provides affordable, permanent housing for low-, median-, and moderate-income families and individuals in Nevada County. The purpose of this residential project is to support, empower, and serve our neighbors who are in desperate need of affordable housing. Our focus will be to develop an aesthetically-pleasing site that the residents and the local community can be proud of.  An ongoing partnership with local law enforcement, mental health agencies, and the medical community will help ensure that all residents live in a safe, clean environment.

Site plan shows two clusters only. Proposed number of units for village is approximately 45.

For Illustration Purposes Only. Subject to Change

Our Community

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Prospector Village will contain a mix of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom cottages (detached stick-built homes on permanent foundations) with porches, attractive exteriors, storage units, carports, and landscaping.  There will be approximately three neighborhood clusters on the 5-acre site, each having a common green area in the middle with picnic tables and barbecues (See community plan for site plan example). The expected home sizes will be 261- 847 sq. ft. Other developments may include a community center, general store/restaurant, communal garden, amphitheater, dog park, and children's playground.  The community center will allow residents to meet socially, play games, access a computer, swim in the pool, or enjoy a casual meal on the patio.  


Prospective buyers (seniors, veterans, disabled, low-income families and individuals) will have the opportunity to choose among eight affordable-priced models.  Trash and maintenance of the common areas will be paid by a homeowners association fee of approximately $150. The estimated price range for the homes will be $149K – $299K.  Residents will contribute a specified number of volunteer hours per month as upkeep for the village. Building and cluster names will recognize major benefactors as part of a fundraising activity.

Liaisons will be formed with the local community for advisory and business purposes. (Habitat for Humanity, Hospitality House, Sierra Roots, Interfaith Food Ministry, Rotary Club, 4-H, FFA, VFW, local churches, law enforcement, governmental officials, and Health & Human Services).


Low-income individuals gain self-respect and confidence through cooperation and commitment.  The homeownership formula instills pride and responsibility, giving residents an incentive to maintain their homes and the surrounding community.  By offering a mix of housing choices, our hope is to have a diverse community where everyone can draw upon each other's strengths.


Village applicants must satisfy basic admission requirements (application process, interview, income restrictions) to become a member of the community. 


A board of advisors will oversee the project and make decisions based on the advice from business professionals in the community.  Elected members living in the village will also participate in the governing of their community. A coordinator will live on-site to ensure a peaceful and productive co-existence.


All residents of the village are subject to the rules and regulations of the homeowners association.

Our Location

The residents of the micro-village will live within walking distance of Grass Valley.


The proposed site will provide easy access to public transportation, shopping, and medical facilities.

Our Team

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Ken Merdinger


Public school teacher (24 years), volunteer for N.C. Habitat for Humanity, President of the Dorsey Meadows HOA, author of 11 books on Amazon, former restaurant owner, manager for an airline, public relations director for an environmental organization in Santa Barbara

Rob Wood, AICP

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Millennium Planning & Engineering provides land planning and civil engineering design services to help our clients through all phases of the development process from conceptual design to construction.

471 Sutton Way, Suite 210

Grass Valley, CA 95945

Phone: 530-446-6765


Ryan Litke


Commercial Loan Officer

Real Estate Consultant


Michael Taylor


Owner of M.J.T. Builders, knowledge of county permitting and planning, private firefighter, advocate for ADUs and affordable tiny homes, former candidate for District 1 Supervisor in Nevada County


Enrique Rivera


Nevada County Department of Social Services, Transportation Officer for CA Army National Guard, Health Technician II Bilingual (Spanish) for N.C. Department of Public Health WIC Program, Therapeutic Behavioral Science Coach & Lead Mental Health Worker for Milhous Children's Services

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Kelly Merdinger


Graduate of UCLA with degrees in Political Science and Urban Planning, MSW from the University of Washington, volunteer for AmeriCorps, worked for supportive housing for the mentally-ill homeless, presently a therapist and case worker for a homeless nonprofit in Seattle