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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

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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.

Habitat Happenings

pouring-the-footingThings are moving right along with our build out in Birch Bay. Last week we completed the formwork for the foundation footing. Yesterday we poured the footing and tomorrow we’ll set the forms for the stem wall. Once the foundation is complete, we can build a house with the Ortiz family! Want to help? Email Janet at volunteer@nullhfhwhatcom.org or call (360) 715-9170.

Work for Habitat

ashley-eric-amandaWe’re hiring in the store! We’re looking for a full-time Assistant Store Manager and a part-time Donation Ambassador/Warehouse Attendant/Driver. If you’re passionate about the need for affordable housing, Habitat might be a great fit for you. Come on in and apply!

Join Our Carpenters Club to Build without Lifting a Hammer

It takes more than labor to build a house. For every home we must raise about $150,000 for land and materials. We’ve relaunched our Carpenters Club giving program – an easy and convenient way to help build without ever breaking a sweat. By signing up to give monthly recurring donations through your credit card, debit card, or bank account, you help create a reliable stream of monetary support that is vital to building safe, decent, affordable shelter in partnership with working families. Call Hillary at (360) 715-9170 or email hillary.pritchard@nullhfhwhatcom.org to learn more. Click here and choose monthly donation frequency to sign up now. When you give, you build!

Meet the Lopez Family

whole-lopez-family_croppedErlin and Sergio Lopez live in a 3-bedroom apartment with their 4 children. Which would be a little snug but overall not too bad if it weren’t for the fact that they share that 3-bedroom apartment with several extended family members. As it is, Erlin, Sergio, and their kids live crammed into a single bedroom. Way beyond snug.

Working Towards Home Ownership

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Sergio Lopez at work on the Sumas rehab

Like so many Whatcom County residents, the Lopez family works, goes to school, and pays their bills … but still can’t afford safe, decent shelter through traditional channels. So when they heard about Habitat, they immediately applied to become homeowners. They joined our program in August and have been working hard on their sweat equity hours. When we asked Erlin and Sergio what they’re looking forward to most about owning their own house, they said, “Having a steady home where we’ll be able to see our kids grow.” They said the kids are already lobbying hard for a dog!

Proud Partners of Habitat

sergio-and-erlin_croppedWhen we asked Erlin and Sergio what they’d like people to know about them, they answered plainly, “That we’re not bad people.” Indeed, we’re proud to partner with this amazing family. But we know about the judgment and intolerance so many hard-working folks face simply because they can’t afford decent shelter in a world where housing grows more expensive and unattainable every day. We invite any who may have doubt to volunteer … we’re confident that if you work alongside any one of our partner homebuyer families, you will finish the day with a changed heart.

 

 

Progress on Leeside Drive

clearing-at-leeside-croppedWe’re making real progress out in Birch Bay, thanks largely to the generosity of our supporters. On Monday, Mike Peetoom – owner and operator of Mike Peetoom Construction LLC – brought one of his earth movers out to the site and got to work. He scraped grass and topsoil and dug the trenches for the foundation. A lifelong Whatcom County resident, Mike was happy to be able to help. “I’m a dirt guy,” he said, grinning. “If you want me to swing a hammer, I’m worthless.”

You Don’t Have to Swing a Hammer to Help Build a House

mike-roberts-john-paradis-john-moon-2Like Mike, John Paradis of Umpqua Bank, supports Habitat generously. He served on our Board of Directors for 10 years and now serves as the Co-Chair of our Homebuyer Selection Committee. “I believe in what Habitat’s doing,” he says. “I’m all about affordable housing. And we’ve got some really great [homebuyers] we’ve been able to work with.” Today he presented us with a $4000 check from the Umpqua Bank Charitable Foundation for the Leeside project. Women Build and Youth United Build teams will soon begin constructing the Ortiz-Mendoza home with the family.

Celebrate Progress with Us

Join us on Sunday, October 30th at the Habitat Store from 2 to 4pm for a Permit Party to celebrate the progress we’ve made so far. We’ll have plenty of cake and inspiration to fuel us for the next phase of the project … building a house!

 

 

Local Business Owners Illustrate That Giving Is Building

Sanford, Florida / 10 MBIn Whatcom County, 42% of residents earn less than the basic cost of living. The average wage here is not enough to afford a 2-bedroom apartment. These circumstances set the stage for families living in overcrowded, substandard conditions. At Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County, we’re trying to do something about that. We work with qualifying families to build safe, decent, affordable homes and lives beyond the oppressive grip of poverty. But we can’t do it alone. And there are so many different ways to help us build.

When You Give, You Build

paul-and-linda-teaterPaul and Linda Teater, relative newcomers to Whatcom County, exemplify the neighborly spirit of our community. They’ve long been generous promoters of the welfare of others and their gifts to Habitat continue that tradition. Owners of the local Budget Blinds franchise, they outfitted both the Van Dyken and Gutierrez homes entirely in blinds at no charge. Additionally, they’re covering our office windows here at Habitat – again, at no charge. Money we don’t spend to cover our office windows goes towards building shelter. Money the Van Dyken and Gutierrez families don’t spend to cover their windows is freed up for health care, education, and basic needs. This is the impressive impact of the Teaters’ gifts.

What Will You Build?

With the Leeside project nearing the construction phase, 3 other new builds in the works, several repair projects, and Telegraph Townhomes just around the corner, we need more help than ever to continue building strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter. Call (360) 715-9170 and help us build today!

Work Begins in Blaine

work-party-at-leeside-10-8-16It took nearly 4 years of persistent effort, but at the end of last month we finally received a permit to begin building on the Leeside Drive lot we acquired back in 2012. We celebrated Habitat style … by rolling up our sleeves and getting to work!

Building House Number 37

This will be our 37th ground-up build in Whatcom County and we’re partnering with the Ortiz family to make it happen. The Ortiz’s joined our program in December of 2011 and have already put in over the minimum 500 hours of sweat equity before we’ve even broken ground!  They were out at the build site this past Saturday working alongside volunteers and staff to clean up the lot and remove debris.ortizs-with-volunteers-on-10-8-16

Build with the Ortiz’s

There are many more work parties to come and we’ll need all the hands we can get to help the Ortiz family finish their home in time for the 2017/2018 school year. Please contact Janet Straka at 360.715.9170 or email volunteer@nullhfhwhatcom.org to sign up to volunteer with Habitat. This project is led by Women Build volunteers. Habitat welcomes volunteers of all genders.

Bob Matthes: Changing Lives with Habitat

img_0572A retired engineer, Bob Matthes has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County since 2009. Prior to that, he volunteered with Habitat affiliates in Missouri and Iowa, primarily on the construction site. He enjoys working in the store here, though, because there’s plenty to do year-round, rain or shine. He loves the fact that the store is able to use those perfectly good materials that might otherwise end up in a landfill. He also appreciates the employment opportunities the store provides.

Something Tangible

Bob dedicates a good amount of his time to us – the equivalent of a part-time job – and has done so for many years. When we asked him, “Why Habitat?” he had this to say:

bob-matthes“I’ve always thought of Habitat as a worthy cause and something we volunteers can be very proud of. There’s something tangible we’re producing. There’s something to celebrate several times a year.”

Safe, decent, affordable housing is indeed tangible … and definitely something to celebrate!

Changing Lives

Bob would like those considering volunteering with Habitat to know that there are plenty of opportunities beyond the build site and that, “This is really a chance to change people’s lives.” Thank you, Bob, for changing lives with us.