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On the Construction Site

There are still a few mounds of snow on the ground at the construction site on Leeside Drive, but it’s nothing our volunteers can’t handle. They’re busy finishing roof trim today, after which the sheathing begins. Construction Manager Paul Stromdahl explains, “Sheathing is the process of putting 4×8 sheets of OSB ‘plywood’ on top of the trusses. This sheathing will be covered by the shingles.”

What’s Next?

That plywood will also be installed directly beneath the trusses (the triangular shaped wooden pieces that support the roof) to create the home’s ceiling. “That gets taped,” Paul says, explaining how tight seals are created during construction that will help make this house as energy efficient as possible.

Once the sheathing and the ceiling are done, it’ll be time to cover the roof in tar paper. The shingles will get nailed down on top of that. In the midst of that work, some volunteers will also work on the interior partitions – the walls inside the house.

Get Involved

There’s plenty of work to do and every hand can make a difference. Get in on the action by emailing volunteer@nullhfhwhatcom.org with your availability and contact information. We’ll get in touch with you to schedule an orientation and put you to work!

Habitat Happenings

Work out at Leeside is temporarily paused due to the weather. One of our volunteers, Jean, reported that the street is icy and very difficult to navigate. This puts us a little behind but we feel confident we can make up lost time as the weather improves. If you’d like to help out, give us a call at (360) 715-9170 or send an email to volunteer@nullhfhwhatcom.org. Every hand can make a difference!

Join Our Store Advisory Committee

If you have retail expertise, we need you on our Store Advisory Committee. Committee members are volunteers who give back by sharing their knowledge, experience, and skills in these areas:

  • retail
  • merchandising
  • marketing
  • P&L

Help us make the Habitat Store even better! Contact:

 Amy Mitchell
(360) 778-2036
amy.mitchell@nullhfhwhatcom.org
– or – John Moon
(360) 715-9170
john.moon@nullhfhwhatcom.org

Book Our Community Room

Construction on our offices in the back of the store is complete and we’re thrilled to offer the use of our community room to groups needing meeting space. Download an info sheet here and contact debbie.johnson@nullhfhwhatcom.org to schedule.

From Project to Home

If you drive by the lot at 7535 Leeside Drive in Birch Bay, you’ll see something that’s beginning to look house-shaped. If you drive by on a Wednesday or a Saturday, you’ll see volunteer crews busy helping one dedicated family build that soon-to-be home. We’ve still got a long way to go, but when a project starts looking like a house we get excited.

Help Turn This Project Into a Home

You don’t need construction experience to help build a Habitat house. Construction Manager Paul Stromdahl supervises all work and skilled volunteers are almost always on hand to help guide as well. Still, if swinging a hammer just isn’t your thing, we hope you’ll consider helping out in another way: by donating money to the project. For every house we build, we must raise about $150,000 for land and materials. This particular project cost us a little more due to an unexpected mitigation process. Donate securely by clicking here.

Other ways to help include donating to the Habitat Store, volunteering at the Habitat Store, linking your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to Habitat, or joining a volunteer committee. It’s easy to find a way to contribute that suits you, your skills, and your schedule!

Spotlight on the Store

Do you have retail experience and a passion for affordable housing? We need you on our Store Advisory Committee! The committee is made up of volunteer members who share their knowledge in an effort to make the Habitat Store a more successful retail outlet. We need members with skills in the following areas:

  • retail
  • merchandising
  • marketing
  • and/or P&L

Proceeds from the store support our mission to eliminate poverty housing conditions here in Whatcom County and throughout the world. If you’re interested in helping us make the store the best it can be, please contact:

 Amy Mitchell
(360) 778-2036
amy.mitchell@nullhfhwhatcom.org
– or – John Moon
(360) 715-9170
john.moon@nullhfhwhatcom.org

Parking at the Habitat Store

We were moved this past Saturday to see so many of our community members exercise their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. But we were somewhat dismayed by the corresponding takeover of our parking lot.

And the proof is in the numbers: the Habitat Store saw a reduction of $1,328.00 in sales compared to the same Saturday last year because regular customers did not have access to the parking lot.  If you parked in the Habitat Store lot, your voice was paid for by Whatcom County’s poorest in the amount of $26.56 per parking spot. This is hard cash that will not be available to purchase lumber, ironically for the current Women Build project in Birch Bay.  If you parked at Habitat, please consider sending a check for $25.00 or whatever your heart and circumstances allow, to Habitat for Humanity, 1825 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham 98225 or donate online at networkforgood.org. Please help turn this problem into a blessing.

Raising Financially Literate Kids with Junior Achievement

At Habitat, we value financial literacy. When people are aware of financial risks and opportunities and have the education necessary to make informed choices, they’re better able to care for themselves, navigate rough economic waters, and advocate for vulnerable populations. Financially literate adults are well-positioned to become and stay homeowners, which in turn helps to ensure strength, stability, and self-reliance. And strong, stable homeowners make strong, stable communities. Financial literacy helps everyone!

Financial Education for Kids

That’s why we’re excited to welcome Junior Achievement’s financial education class for kids, JA More than Money®, to our community room this Saturday.

  • WHEN: Jan. 21st, 10am to 1pm
  • WHERE: Habitat Community Room (in the store, located at 1825 Cornwall Avenue)
  • COST: Free!
  • RSVP: Register via email to hillary.pritchard@nullhfhwhatcom.org or by calling (360) 715-9170 ext. 1013

Get ’em while they’re young, we say! Raising financially literate kids is a great way to smooth their path to economic resilience in adulthood and populate our community with stable, self-reliant folks.

Download an info sheet here.

Book Our Community Room!

Over the summer, volunteer Bill Brausieck led a remodeling project in the store to give office staff a place to work. He did a beautiful job, and we’ve finally settled into our new digs … which include a community room! We use it for staff, committee, and board meetings, but we’re excited to offer it up for public, non-commercial use as well.

Make Yourself at Home with Habitat

We want everyone to feel at home at Habitat. And we’d like to support our community in whatever way we can. That’s why we’re excited to share this space for use by:

  • community action groups
  • study groups or educational seminars
  • hobby groups/club meetings
  • nonprofit board, staff, or volunteer meetings
  • support groups*

There’s no charge for room use as long as your scheduled time is during office hours. To book, call Debbie at 360.715.9170 ext. 1003 or email debbie.johnson@nullhfhwhatcom.org.

*Note: the community room is within our suite of offices and we therefore cannot offer you strict privacy during office hours.

Framing Work for Leeside Build Begins This Saturday

At 7535 Leeside Drive, the site’s been cleared and the foundation’s been poured. It’s finally time to start building a house. This Women Build project has been in the works for some time now and we’re thrilled to get started on the framing this Saturday, January 7th.

Let’s Build Some Walls!

We’ll be working in the construction warehouse, located at 2918 Birchwood Avenue in Bellingham. Work starts promptly at 9am and continues on until 4 or 4:30 with a break for lunch around Noon. Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes and bring your can-do spirit … experience is optional.

If you plan to attend, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Janet, by calling 360.715.9170 ext. 1016 or emailing volunteer@nullhfhwhatcom.org and let her know you’ll be there. We’d love to see lots of ladies swinging hammers on Saturday but as with every Women Build project, all genders are welcome.

 

Our Plans for 2017

2016 was a productive year for Habitat! We:

  • Started and completed 2 rehabilitation projects (with the Chapina and Gutierrez families)
  • Began a rehab project with the Lyons family
  • Welcomed 3 new partner homebuyer families to the program (see here and here)
  • Completed the complex mitigation process for the Leeside project and poured the foundation
  • Made real headway on our Telegraph Townhomes project, slated for groundbreaking sometime in 2017
  • … and more!

2017, Here We Come!

As we look ahead to 2017, our hearts are filled with gratitude for the generosity of our too-numerous-to-name donors and volunteers. Hope, too … for the year ahead, for our partner homebuyers, for Habitat, and for this community we’re so proud to call home. Our plans are ambitious:

  • Build a home in Birch Bay with the Ortiz family and our dedicated Women Build volunteers
  • Complete the Lyons family rehab project
  • Begin 2 to 3 more single-family ground-up builds
  • Break ground on our very first multi-family housing project, Telegraph Townhomes, in partnership with Kulshan Community Land Trust
  • Shepherd our new partner homebuyers through the sweat equity building proces
  • Grow Habitat Store sales so that it can provide even greater support for our mission to end poverty housing in Whatcom County

We Need Your Help

Without community support, all our plans are just beautiful ideas. As you make your own plans for the coming year, we hope you’ll consider dedicating some of your resources – whether it’s time, money, or expertise – to helping your neighbors achieve strength, stability, and self-reliance through Habitat shelter. Email volunteer@nullhfhwhatcom.org to learn more about volunteering at Habitat. Join the Carpenters Club by following this link and selecting monthly donation frequency. Donate to the Habitat Store. There are many ways to get involved. And together we can make 2017 Habitat’s most productive year yet!

Donating to the Habitat Store Couldn’t Be Easier!

Did you know that we offer a free pick-up service for large donations? Our friendly pick-up crew will drive out to your home, office, or storage facility, load your donation onto the Habitat truck, and drive it gratefully away. All you need to do is call the store at (360) 778-2036 or click here to schedule a convenient time.

What to Expect

When you call or click, we’ll ask you for some information about where you’re located, the items you’re donating, and the best time to come collect your donation. Please note that it is highly unlikely that we’ll be able to provide same-day service. More often than not, we’re scheduling about a week out. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can get you on our calendar!

When Our Crew Arrives

Our truck is manned by dedicated staff and volunteers who are committed to Habitat’s mission to end poverty housing. We do our best to screen your donation ahead of time to ensure that:

  • there’s enough room on the truck
  • nothing is too heavy for our crew to lift and load safely
  • every item can be resold in our store

From time to time, however, our crew arrives to find items they cannot take (a piano, for example, which we do accept but are unable to pick up). It’s best to give us a thorough list when you schedule your donation that way we can inform you of any conflicts immediately.

Final Questions

After they’ve loaded up your donation, our crew will ask you to complete a brief survey about the service we provided. They’ll also ask you for a monetary donation to help defray the cost of this free service. If you’re able, please give whatever your heart and circumstances allow so that we can continue to offer donation pick-up in Whatcom County. Finally, they’ll thank you – from all of us – for donating to Habitat.

Unsinkable: Melody & Tyler

Meet one of our newest homebuyer families: Melody, Tyler, and their 4 children (only the youngest is pictured here). These folks have weathered some serious storms, most notably a wind storm that dropped a tree through their motor home and left a gaping hole. But they never give up. After the wind storm, they bought what they could afford to replace the ruined motor home – a small school bus approximately 20 feet by 8 feet – and kept living, kept working, kept going to school.

An Expensive Way to Live

When a generous donor gave Habitat a trailer, Melody and Tyler were able to upgrade their living conditions somewhat. There’s a leak in the roof and they aren’t hooked up to water, power, or sewer so they run a generator and have an outdoor toilet. Both the generator and the toilet are costly to use – at least $20 per day for gas and $100 per month for the toilet. “It’s a pretty expensive way to live,” Tyler says.

Examples for Us All

Melody and Tyler learned about Habitat from the Ferndale Food Bank and applied. They joined our program this past year and are highly motivated, already working hard on their sweat equity hours. They still have to make difficult choices sometimes, like whether to heat or eat. But they refuse to sink. They are energetic, dedicated examples for all of us who have struggled to stay afloat in one way or another … and that’s everyone, isn’t it?