Habitat for Humanity Converting Old Grow Houses into Affordable Housing

SACRAMENTO -- For years, law enforcement in Sacramento has been cracking down on illegal marijuana grow houses and making dozens of arrests.

But what happens to those homes after the busts are over?

Whether they knew about the grow or not, the homeowner faces hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines plus the cost of cleaning up what was left behind.

Sacramento city leaders say they have an answer.

"Unlike many cities that bust an illegal grow house and leave it vacant and dilapidated, we've created a partnership with Habitat for Humanity. We are converting these homes into homes for future families who need affordable housing," City Councilman Eric Guerra said.

Homeowners have the option now of donating their house to charity instead of paying the steep fines.

City attorney Susan Alcala-Wood is convinced it will be a success.

"I've been doing this type of work for 30 years in different cities, so I've used this remedy in other cities," Alcala-Wood said.

The home will be fixed up by the non-profit and sold to a family who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford one at a discounted rate.

"This is a great, innovative, out-of-the-box partnership, which is what we need to make a dent in the affordable housing crisis," Habitat for Humanity Greater Sacramento President Leah Miller said.

The first home they are fixing up is in the Elder Glen neighborhood in South Sacramento. Construction is set to begin in October.

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