by: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: L.E. BASKOW - Volunteers work together in 2009 to raise the awlls on a Portland Habitat For Humanity house on North Dekum Street. Habitat for Humanity has raised $12 million to continue its work in Southeast Portland and Gresham.Portland’s Habitat for Humanity has reached its $12 million fundraising goal and plans to continue building homes in Southeast Portland, Rockwood and Gresham.

Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East reported Tuesday that the goal included Habitat’s annual fund of $4 million. The group raised the additional $9 million to meet the growing needs of the community.

The $12 million has already been spent acquiring land and building homes for local families, according to Habitat officials. The fundraising will help the local Habitat group build nearly 30 homes a year, instead of 20 houses. It also helped the organization buy land for the next five years of homebuilding.

“The support of the community has been overwhelming,” said Steve Messinetti, president and chief executive officer at Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East. “So many leaders in our community saw the need to invest in and stabilize neighborhoods that have historically been neglected.

“We now have land in place to make a real impact in our hardest hit neighborhoods. But we still have a lot of funds to raise and work to do building homes on the purchased land and addressing other needs in these communities.”

Funds came from the city of Portland, the city of Gresham, local philanthropists and foundations, including gifts from John Gray, Meyer Memorial Trust, Ann and Bill Swindells Charitable Trust, Walsh Construction and Wells Fargo Bank.

Habitat doesn’t make a profit on its homes. Families moving into the Habitat houses must pay 1 percent down on a zero-interest mortgage after putting in 500 hours of “sweat equity.”

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