Category: Projects

What’s happening on the job site

 

Work continues on homes for two Whatcom County families

Habitat for Humanity Whatcom County construction volunteer Noriko Lao installs decorative battens to the exterior of the home being built in Acme. Noriko has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity for more than 20 years, mostly in construction. Photo by Marcie Miller

Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County construction volunteers were hard at work on Saturday, April 7th, ensuring that another family in Whatcom county will soon have a place to call home.

Construction manager Paul Stromdahl and a half dozen volunteers worked throughout the home on Poppy Lane in Kendall, just off the Mt. Baker Highway, putting up drywall as a forecast of rain and wind derailed roofing plans.

The home is a double wide modular, donated to Habitat by Bellingham business owner, Roger Jobs. It was moved to the site, which was already owned by Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County, last year. After permits were in place, renovation and enlargement of the home began this year.

Participating in the project are the home’s future owners, Mario Mata and his family of 7 children. The Mata family work on the 1600 square foot home, contributing the required “sweat equity” as their contribution to the home building process.

Paul explained the future homeowners have to agree to put in 500 hours of sweat equity in total as part of their downpayment, with at least 100 of those hours going into the construction of their home. The other hours can be completed volunteering in other capacities for Habitat for Humanity.

As well as keeping construction costs down, according to Habitat for Humanity, sweat equity teaches the future homeowners new skills and instills in them a sense of pride and ownership. They are truly invested in their home.

Habitat home also under construction in Acme

In addition to the Mata home, Paul and his crew of volunteers are also working on an 850 square foot home for Linda Clow in nearby Acme. She currently lives on the property in two old logging cabins, cobbled together into one dwelling, Paul said.

“She was a bus driver in the community for years,” Paul said. “Everyone knows her.”

Paul said that Linda put in her hours in the Habitat store on Cornwall, as well as on her future home.

“She’s well beyond the hours that she needs,” he said.

He also pointed out that volunteer opportunities are available for all levels of abilities.

“She makes great lunches, and that is worth a lot,” he added.

Linda’s future home, built from the ground up, will have even better energy efficiency than was possible with the Mata family’s pre-built modular home, Paul said. Sustainability is key to Habitat for Humanity’s mission.

“This will allow the homeowner to be less impacted by rising energy costs,” Paul said. “We want them to stay in the community and to be a part of the community.”

Habitat homebuyer, Linda Clow. Photo by Malie Laolagi.
Linda Clow's current home in Acme is no longer livable.

Construction volunteers always needed

If you would like to help out a Whatcom County neighbor on their path to home ownership, construction volunteers are always welcome. No construction skills are needed as there is work available for all skill levels. This year Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County will undertake its largest project ever, 52 townhomes on Telegraph Road, in cooperation with Kulshan Community Land Trust. Many, many hands will be needed to make this project a reality.

To volunteer apply online here.

Way to Get Neighborly, Whatcom County!

Our first ever Build Community Day was a rousing success! Sixty volunteers came out to the Leeside Drive neighborhood in Birch Bay on Saturday and got busy on projects small and large, including:

  • digging a ditch
  • power washing
  • landscaping
  • debris removal
  • painting
  • cleaning gutters

It was an ambitious spring clean-up event that left everyone muddy, sore, and smiling. (View the Build Community Day photo album.) Our heartfelt thanks to every helping hand and to Whatcom Community Foundation’s Project Neighborly grant for making Build Community Day possible.

What’s Next?

There’s still work to be done on house #37 … we need to caulk and paint the exterior and install gutters as well as hang drywall, paint, and finish the floors inside. You can help by donating funds to the project and/or volunteering your time. To sign up for a new volunteer orientation, email Sarah at sarah.bond-yancey@hfhwhatcom.org.

 

Spring Break in … rainy Whatcom County?

This month, two separate groups of college students have visited to volunteer with Habitat over their spring breaks as part Collegiate Challenge. Impressive, no? Instead of traveling someplace sunny where they could park themselves on a sandy beach for a week, these students chose to come to Whatcom County and help us build strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter.

Yes, we think that’s impressive.

Collegiate Challenge 2017

A couple of weeks ago the group from Carnegie Mellon (pictured above) spent their Spring Break putting up siding at 7535 Leeside Drive. This week, a group from the University of California, Berkeley (pictured below) is doing prep work for a community garden just outside of the Birchwood warehouse. Enthusiastic and eager to learn, both these groups are leaving us better off than they found us.

Thank you, Collegiate Challenge volunteers! We hope your trip to Whatcom County was as rewarding for you as your visit was to us.

Volunteer Abroad with Habitat

In Whatcom County, we’re already working in partnership with low-income families to build safe, decent homes where they can live and grow into their fullest potential. Now
we have the opportunity to extend our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live beyond Whatcom County by traveling abroad to build alongside some of
our international neighbors.

Join Us In …

At this time we have build trips scheduled for:

All Q&A Sessions are at the Habitat Store. No question or concern is too large or too small! If you can’t attend a Q&A
Session, don’t worry … it’s not a requirement.

Learn More

To sign up for a Q&A Session, schedule an informational call, or get more details, call or email Sarah: (360) 715-9170 ext. 1016 sarah.bond-yancey@hfhwhatcom.org. Download a printable flyer here.

The Finish Line Is on the Horizon

It took years to get the building permit, but the construction work – now that we actually have the permit – is flying by. Soon enough we’ll be inviting you to a home dedication.

A Special House

We’re got walls and windows, a roof complete with solar panels, and the siding is going up now. The windows are triple-paned, low-e, argon which will go a long way towards insulating the house. (Thank you, West Coast Windows!) The green zip board you see in the picture has a semi-permeable membrane which allows moisture out but not in. The solar panels will help get this house to net zero energy efficiency. (Thank you, Western Solar!) We strive for superior energy efficiency in all our home builds, but we expect 7535 Leeside Drive to be our most energy efficient build to date.

Help Us Reach the Finish Line

With lots of helping hands, we might be able to finish this house by the end of April. Call Sarah at (360) 715-9170 or send an email to volunteer@hfhwhatcom.org to get involved. We build on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and on April 8th we’re hosting Build Community Day – a special build day focusing not just on the house but on the immediately surrounding neighborhood as well. Join us!

 

Build Like a Girl

In an industry that’s historically excluded women, we believe our Women Build program testifies to the absurdity of that exclusion. And what better time to proudly present our evidence than during Women’s History Month?

  • 1991
    A group of women in Charlotte, N.C. completed the first women-built Habitat for Humanity house.
  • 1998
    Women Build became an official Habitat for Humanity International program.
  • 2006-2007
    Across the country, 52 homes were built through Women Build.
  • 2011
    Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County’s first ever Women Build project housed a 3-generational female household that had been living above a repair garage coping with exhaust fumes and mold.

Our Current Women Build Project

We started building with the Ortiz family at 7535 Leeside Drive in Birch Bay at the end of 2016. Now this Women Build project boasts a foundation, the framing, a fully shingled roof, and interior partition walls. We’ll begin siding the house next week.

Build Like a Girl with Habitat

You don’t need construction experience to volunteer with Women Build. All you need are a sturdy pair of shoes and the willingness to learn. Learn more by emailing Sarah at volunteer@hfhwhatcom.org or call (360) 715-9170.

 

Build Community on April 8th

Thanks to funding from Whatcom Community Foundation’s Project Neighborly, we’re preparing for our first ever Build Community Day. A day of building and beautifying in the neighborhood Habitat homebuyers Juana & Julio will soon call home, this event was planned on the premise that common ground isn’t hard to find when we get out on a work site and get dirty and tired together.

Every Hand Can Make a Difference

Multiple volunteer crews will work on a variety of projects which may include things like:

  • construction work at 7535 Leeside Drive
  • general neighborhood cleanup
  • fence repair
  • landscaping
  • weatherization
  • debris removal

Enjoy a free catered lunch midday and go home at the end of the day knowing you helped build community! Learn more here. Sign up by calling Sarah at (360) 715-9170 ext. 1016 or via email to volunteer@hfhwhatcom.org.

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@hfhwhatcom.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@hfhwhatcom.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@hfhwhatcom.org
– or – John Moon
(360) 715-9170
john.moon@hfhwhatcom.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@hfhwhatcom.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!

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