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 Jun 18 - 24, 2009 
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Hundred-Dollar House

By Simon McCormack

With home prices plummeting, Larry Garcia devised an unusual plan for getting his place off the market.

Garcia, his wife Jill Logan and third owner Brian Rothman decided to raffle off their North Valley abode, valued at just more than $242,000. They're going to donate a big chunk of the proceeds from the raffle to nonprofit, fair-trade retail store Peacecraft. "In this time of houses not selling and the market being down, we thought this would be a great way to lose a mortgage and benefit Peacecraft," Garcia says.

For the winner of the raffle, helping Peacecraft will be a pleasant side effect of a real estate bargain. The 1,500-square-foot, two-bedroom adobe house is 95 years old and underwent a complete remodeling last year. The home is at 4229 San Isidro NW, between Griegos and Candelaria. "It's the kind of house that a lot of people talk about wanting to get," Neustel says. "It has architecture that is unique and interesting, and you're not going to find another house like this anywhere."

Those who buy in will have a 1-in-3,000 chance of walking away with a new place to hang their hat. The 3,000 tickets sell for $100 a pop. Garcia says most of the ticket buyers so far aren't as interested in acquiring real estate as they are in lending a hand to the Nob Hill shop. "Peacecraft has been really effective for a number of years supporting fair trade all over the country," Garcia says. "People are interested in promoting that kind of help."

“We've really tried to change the economic status of the groups we work with.”

Executive Director Jim Neustel

One of the overarching goals of Peacecraft is to help lift low-income people out of poverty, regardless of geography. A quick trip inside Peacecraft is all you need to catch the store's drift. Reggae music wafts out of the speakers. Brightly colored clothing from Tibet, rugs made from recycled plastic, Honduran cashews and hand drums from Nepal are some of the items lining the shelves and adorning the hangers. Executive Director Jim Neustel says his store pays workers what they deserve for their wares. He mentions one example of a women's co-op in northern Vietnam where the average annual income is only $47. Peacecraft bought $3,500 worth of products from the women, thereby doubling each of their annual incomes with one sale. "We've really tried to change the economic status of the groups we work with," Neustel says.

For those who don't walk away with a new home, Neustel says they can be sure their money will help Peacecraft achieve its goals. "It's a good way to boost our inventory and further our cause," Neustel says. "Nonprofits in these economic times are having trouble raising money and finding ways to enable the missions they try to accomplish."

The lucky ticket will be drawn on Saturday, Aug. 1, at Peacecraft. An exact time hasn't been decided yet. There are still about 2,000 tickets available. You can get them at Peacecraft, The Mail Station, 20 Carrots restaurant or Michael Thomas Coffee. The raffled property is having open houses on Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m.

 
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