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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 Janet at 360.715.9170 ext. 1016 or email janet.straka@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?

Volunteer at the Habitat Store!

carmenOne of our most steadfast, dedicated store volunteers is leaving us next month. A military veteran, Carmen approaches her job in our receiving department with the kind of thoroughness and inexhaustibility one might expect from a former member of the armed forces. We are sorry to see her go but very grateful for all she’s given us.

Train with Carmen

Carmen works Tuesday through Saturday from 9am to 3pm. We don’t expect to find one person to replace her, but if you’re interested in helping out at Habitat and are available for a regular shift sometime within Carmen’s working hours, let us know! Carmen will be leaving us mid-January so new volunteers who start soon will be able to train directly with her.

Get Started Today!

If you’ve never volunteered with Habitat before, you’ll need to:

If you’ve already completed your orientation, paperwork, and background check, contact Janet to sign up for a shift. Carmen will be happy to show you the ropes!

Washington Federal Supports Telegraph Townhomes Project

john-receiving-check-from-josh-guthrieJosh Guthrie, Branch Manager of Washington Federal’s Cornwall branch, stopped by yesterday with a quite a gift … a $1000 check to support our Telegraph Townhomes project! “Affordable housing is a passion for us,” he said, adding that it’s also a particular passion of his, having personally experienced the impact a safe, decent, affordable place to call home can have on families. He came into our offices to personally deliver the gift – from the Washington Federal Foundation – and wish us luck with the project, which will create affordable housing opportunities for 24 local families.

Thank you, Josh, and Washington Federal for helping to build strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter. We are grateful!

We Need You on #GivingTuesday

giving-tuesday-promo-for-constant-contact

A message from our Executive Director:

#GivingTuesday is less than a week away and if you choose to participate I hope that you will consider Habitat for Humanity.A safe, decent place to lay your head at night is a basic human need.  Over 14,000 in Whatcom County will struggle this Thanksgiving to provide for their family, not only this coming Thursday, but every day, because their living conditions are substandard or – equally detrimental – unaffordable.

If you and only 99 others donate $25.00 by 11/29/16 we will be able to purchase the materials to put a roof on the home of Juana and Julio Ortiz and their 4 children and weather the house in.  Here are some additional ways your gift will be put to work:
  1. The Ortiz’s mortgage payment is based on cost, financed at 0%, and set at no more than 28% of the family’s gross income. This means the family can afford other basics such as food, clothing and health care.
  2. The affordable payment means there is reduced need to utilize other support social services.
  3. The affordable payment means that children don’t move from school system to school system due to another rent increase.
  4. At 0%, every mortgage payment builds 100% equity. It’s like putting the entire amount into a savings account.  The stability and ability to weather difficult times is priceless.
  5. Every mortgage payment helps the next family in need by providing unrestricted cash flow to support Habitat’s mission to eradicate substandard living conditions in Whatcom County.  Habitat founder Millard Fuller called this Biblical Economics.

Your gift gives in so many ways and it is needed more than ever. Please click here and make a huge difference in the prospects for this and many other future families in need of housing.

Wishing all a warm, safe and memorable Thanksgiving full of many meaningful moments with family and friends.

John P.C. Moon
Executive Director
Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County

Habitat Hero: Bill Brausieck

bill-brausieckIn these uncertain and troubled times, we at Habitat feel extra lucky to witness generosity, humility, and concern for the welfare of others demonstrated daily by our volunteers. Bill Brausieck, for instance. A retired engineer, these days Bill gets paid zero dollars and zero cents to help working families in our community achieve independence through affordable home ownership. And he does it with bill-brausieck-3the same regularity that the rest of us work paying jobs. Now more than ever, folks like Bill are heroes to us.

“A Blessing for Me”

Bill headed up the Haxton Way project last year, helping the Van Dyken family construct a safe, decent home and helping the volunteers have a positive and productive experience on the build site. Easily a full-time job, but Bill did it all pro bono. “I look at Habitat more as a blessing for me,” Bill says, “because it gives me a place to put my energy for wanting bill-brausieck-2to build things and help people. I get to feel partly responsible for the happiness of others.”

Cause for Hope

For 6 years we’ve had the good fortune to be Bill’s blessing and we hope to retain the privilege for as long as he’ll have us. With folks like Bill around, our community will always have cause for hope.