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By Kyle Perrotti | Dec 23, 2016 The Mountaineer

Haywood Pathways Center is venturing into new territory as it prepares to sell a home and use the profit to continue its primary mission of offering a hand up to the homeless in the community.

This week, the group coordinated the installation of a two-module home placed on property about a quarter-mile off U.S. 276 on Jonathan Creek. A private donor provided financing for the project and volunteers helped with the rest, so the nonprofit is out no upfront funds.

The home installed Tuesday boasts panoramic views of the valley and will be listed for sale at around $138,000.

The house is a bargain considering it is being sold at-cost, said Pathways board member Jim Blyth, who also serves on the county’s affordable housing taskforce. Blyth  said although the house isn’t sold yet, it will go to a local public servant such as a teacher, firefighter or police officer.

Pathways Executive Director Jeremy Parton said the house will be perfect for someone just beginning their professional career in an area where it’s hard to get a decent house for under $200,000.

“If someone can get a three-bedroom two-bath house in the $138,000 to $140,000 range, that’s about unheard of,” Parton said.

The two 14-foot modules were shipped from Virginia Monday morning and a group of subcontractors made up of local crews — as well as crews from around the state and even as far away as West Virginia — got the modules on the foundation and put the roof up the following day.

Blyth was designated the point man on the project because of his decades of experience with modular homes.

“I’ve probably done about 2,000 of these things,” he said. “That’s why they’re so easy to organize now.”

Parton said that the project was able to be completed so smoothly because of Blyth’s knowhow and connections.

“This would not be possible without Jim’s expertise,” he said.

The process of getting the modules from the trailer onto the foundation isn’t an easy one, but it was completed correctly and efficiently, allowing the subcontractors, including the crane operator, to call it a day even earlier than expected.

“Any time you can bring the crane in at 8 a.m. and get the house down and get everyone out within about four to five hours, it’s a good day,” Blyth said.

The modules were designed and built by Cardinal Homes out of Wylliesburg, Virginia. Blyth said the units were sold at $50 per square-foot, meaning that at 1,120 square-feet, the cost came to about $56,000. The total cost of the house includes the invoice for the modules combined with the foundation, the lot and the crane cost.

Blyth said that now that the modules are on the foundation, the house will be ready for a family to move in within about 30 days. He added that he hopes putting the word out to the heads of local public service organizations, such as police chiefs, will pique someone’s interest and get the house sold quickly.

Although Blyth said Pathways’ primary focus will remain on housing Haywood County’s homeless and recently incarcerated population, both he and Parton noted that there is a serious need for more workforce housing in the area as well.

“There is a tremendous need for affordable workforce housing in Haywood County,” Blyth said.

“The issue is that when people enter the workforce at entry level wages, it doesn’t afford them an opportunity to get themselves into entry-level housing,” Parton said. “The volume simply isn’t there. It can be really hard to find a place.”

The next step, Blyth said, is to get the word out to groups such as local police departments of the housing unit. The Pathways Center has not committed to other similar projects yet, but Blyth and Parton are hopeful that local residents will see more of the same in 2017.

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