Affordable, energy-efficient neighborhood coming to Rockford

Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 1:04 AM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - By 2026, the backyard of Auburn High School in Rockford will look a lot different.

The city of Rockford in partnership with Habitat for Humanity announced plans Monday to build a new, sustainable residential neighborhood for low-income families in the Emerson Estates Subdivision.

Project leaders say they plan to build homes that run entirely on electricity within a safe walking distance from school.

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

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.

“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. “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.”

Ten houses are set to be built by 2023, with a total of 30 homes by 2026.

Habitat for Humanity leaders say anyone can volunteer to help build a home on the new project. Visit the Habitat website to get involved.