A Word from the Founder

Hello, my name is Ken Merdinger, and I'm the founder of H.E.L.P. (House, Empower, & Lift People). Our mission is to provide affordable cottages for low, median, and moderate-income families and individuals in a micro-village setting. Over the next six months, we hope to raise the necessary funds for a housing development called “Prospector Village.” But in order to do that, we're going to need your help.

Why is affordable housing so hard to build?

In a nutshell, developers need to make a substantial profit to cover their costs, and when you sell affordable homes to low-income buyers, that means lower home prices with less profit. Another major hurdle is that city and county officials are reluctant to grant high-density zoning because of traffic, environmental, and neighborhood concerns.

So, what makes Prospector Village different?

First: Our focus is not on making a profit. Yes, we do have to cover our expenses, but we want to reinvest most of our profit to keep home prices low, offer down payment assistance, and provide amenities such as a community center, communal garden, swimming pool, and children's playground. Second, we will work diligently with the city and county to make sure their concerns are being addressed. We want a housing development that makes sense—not one that creates more problems down the road. Third, we will welcome feedback from the public in order to develop a master-planned community that we can all be proud of. As a former public school teacher, I know what it takes to get things done: smart planning, dedication, patience, understanding, passion, and effective communication. I will bring those same qualities to this project.

How are we going to get this done?

That's the tough part. We are going to need the general public to make a sincere commitment to affordable housing, whether that be monetary or personal involvement. Great things can be accomplished when people come together. The time for talk is over. If we want affordable housing to happen, we the people need to lead by example. Remember the words of President John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Show our politicians and government leaders that we are serious. Show them what can happen when people work together as a team. By reducing excessive building fees and streamlining the building process, our government could entice more developers to step up to the plate. As John Wayne once said, “Give the American people a good cause, and there's nothing they can't lick.” Let's stem the tide of homelessness by providing a stable living environment for those earning minimum wage. Give our food servers, retail clerks, delivery drivers, and other service workers the same opportunity for the American Dream—a chance to buy a home.

I encourage you to scrutinize what we are proposing by going to www.helpncca.com.

If you believe we are headed on the right path, we ask that you join with us to support affordable housing. We can't afford to wait for others to solve the problem. By becoming a beacon of light for hope and change, you'll feel good that you were part of the solution. Thank you for listening, and God bless.

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