Archive for Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County

Western Students to Bike Across U.S. for Affordable Housing

Kendyl & Brooks (far left, right) with Mary & Dan VanDyken

Kendyl & Brooks (far left, right) with Mary & Dan VanDyken

Meet Kendyl and Brooks. Both seniors at Western Washington University, Kendyl and Brooks are preparing for a cross country bike ride that will take them from New Hampshire all the way back home to Bellingham – nearly 4,000 miles. Along the way they’ll help build safe, durable housing for families in need through Bike & Build, an organization dedicated to empowering young adults for service as well as to raising funds and awareness for affordable housing in the U.S.

Sharing the Affordable Housing Story

They sat down with Habitat homeowners Mary and Dan VanDyken to chat about Bike & Build, Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County, and the impact safe, decent, affordable housing has had on the VanDyken family. Kendyl and Brooks will take that conversation with them on the road, sharing the VanDyken’s story with the communities they visit along the way. This is part of a Bike & Build rider’s commitment: meet with people in the community affected by the affordable housing crisis and share what you’ve learned from them with others as you bike and build your way across the country. “Even when we’re not building, we’re interacting with communities and talking about affordable housing,” says Brooks.

The route Kendyl & Brooks will ride this summer

The route Kendyl & Brooks will ride this summer

Ride Along in Spirit

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In 2 weeks, Kendyl and Brooks will fly East. But the work has already begun. In addition to racking up at least 500 miles of pre-trip biking, riders must raise a minimum of $4,500 to participate. It’s a far cry from the typical American college student’s idea of summer vacation. Even so, when we talked with Kendyl and Brooks about their preparations and the ride ahead, they were all smiles and enthusiasm. Echoing one of Habitat’s messages, Kendyl says, “So much is dependent on a good place to live.” Like Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County, these 2 Western students believe that everyone deserves a decent place to live, and everyone can do something today to help make that possible for another family. It doesn’t have to be biking across the country, though. Instead, visit their donation pages to ride with them in spirit and leave the pedaling to Kendyl and Brooks!

 

Habitat Store Pays Living Wage

Ashley Eric AmandaIn August of 2015 our Board of Directors approved an ambitious plan to raise the minimum wage for non-probationary employees to $15.00 per hour. For months now we at Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County have been working toward that goal. Today we’re excited to announce our hard-won success: Habitat Store Whatcom now pays its staff living wages.

Aligning Mission and Operations

Our mission at Habitat for Humanity is to eliminate poverty housing conditions throughout the world. In the words of John Moon, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County, “It seems disingenuous to fight against poverty but pay poverty wages.” To better align our operations with our mission, a wage increase was necessary. Store staff, led by Manager Julia Menkee, has worked diligently for over 8 months to increase donations which in turn increases sales, thereby turning Habitat Store Whatcom into a retailer that can prioritize a living wage for its staff.

b3c489260a57e26a2249c3a366155477Strong Store, Strong Mission

It’s not just the staff who benefit from a stronger-performing Habitat Store. Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County – like any organization – has overhead. With its unprecedented level of financial support, the store helps to defray those costs. And when overhead is earned and not supported by donations, all donations help more families in need of a simple, decent, affordable home. “This means, true to Habitat’s hand-up, not hand-out core value, donations are invested and not consumed,” says John Moon. “As Habitat homes are sold at cost, not given away, purchased or donated materials are transformed into a mortgage income stream and the mortgage income stream purchases building materials for the next project.”

IMG_0277Help Keep Our Store Strong

The success of the Habitat Store and the Habitat Living Wage Initiative depends on the generosity of Whatcom County residents donating new and gently used household and construction items. Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County has successfully completed 40 projects since 1988 and is looking forward to beginning a 24-home project in Bellingham in 2017. Your donations help keep our store strong and help to turn home projects from great ideas to life-altering realities. Your donations build homes and change lives!

 

Another Roof Raised

We had a fantastic time at our 14th Annual Raise the Roof Auction on Saturday evening, held for the first time at our Habitat Store on Cornwall Avenue in Bellingham. With around 175 guests and another 25 or so volunteers and staff, we definitely had a full house!

IMG_0267Over drinks and delicious appetizers (made and served by Linda Clow – one of our partner homebuyers – and volunteers from the Acme Presbyterian Church) we perused and bid on the wide variety of about 160 different silent auction items. From artwork and handcrafted pottery to gift baskets and getaways, there was plenty to tempt us all. Once the proverbial dust had settled from the competitive silent auction bidding, we got down to some very merry business in the form of the live auction led by local auctioneer and businessman, Michael Watters. A natural entertainer, IMG_0232Watters had us engaged and enjoying ourselves all evening. We dined on a barbecue spread catered by Dickey’s Barbecue in Ferndale then indulged in an array of desserts donated by local bakeries. By the end of the evening, we were full, smiling, and sporting lighter wallets!

Every Bid Matters

As much fun as we had, it’s the ‘sporting lighter wallets part’ that amounts to real change right here in our community. The unfortunate truth is that the average wage in Whatcom County is not enough to afford a 2-bedroom apartment. That’s just one of many difficult facts that motivates us here at Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County to keep raising roofs. Every auction item donated and sold is another step towards affordable home ownership, like our upcoming Telegraph Townhomes project, for local families. Habitat for Humanity builds strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter, and when you support events like our Raise the Roof Auction, you do more than just have a great time … you build homes.

IMG_0258Thank You

We offer our heartfelt gratitude to every guest, sponsor, donor, and volunteer who helped make our 14th Annual Raise the Roof Auction both a delight and a success. To say we couldn’t have done it without you is understating things wildly. Visit our Auction photo album on Facebook to see more photos from Saturday night and follow us to learn more about what Habitat for Humanity is up to here in Whatcom County!