Month: April 2018


Women Build Day 2018 @Telegraph Townhomes

May 5th, 2018, is Habitat Whatcom’s annual Women Build Day. This will be the first year that serious headway is made on our Telegraph Townhomes site!

About Telegraph Townhomes

Designed to serve the 42% of Whatcom County residents (82,000 people) who struggle to afford stable shelter, Telegraph Townhomes will be the largest project undertaken by Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County.

This innovative project will double our impact within the next 5 years. And with mortgage options as low as $350 per month, Telegraph Townhomes is the first major step in mending our county’s broken housing continuum.

The architectural design of how the exterior of the townhomes will look.

Exciting Updates for Telegraph

We’re officially breaking ground this year! Finally, in the last stage of the permitting process, we expect to break ground this summer. Stay tuned!

After acquiring an adjacent piece of land, the project doubled in size. Telegraph Townhomes is now expected to house up to 54 local families!

Shown here are the Telegraph Townhome neighborhood layout, proposed structural designs of individual townhomes, and the wetland the neighborhood lines. "Phase 2" represents the recent acquisition of land that has doubled the number of families this project will be able to house!

Lowe’s Women Build Day

Annually, Lowe’s Home Improvement store provides a $5,000 grant to Habitat for Humanity affiliates across the U.S. This year, we’ll be using the Lowe’s grant to get Telegraph Townhomes one step closer to breaking ground, and to finish up our Wetlands Mitigation project, which we started in February.

Help out a Whatcom County neighbor on their path to homeownership! Join us on Women Build Day, May 5th from 9 am to 4 pm, at 1050 Telegraph Road to be a part of this powerful movement.

Lunch, tools, and instructions will be provided.

No construction skills! Work available for all skill levels. Many, many hands will be needed to make Telegraph Townhomes a reality.


Join us

Sign up by clicking here!

Something for everyone at 16th Annual Raise the Roof Auction

Hillary Pritchard and Fred Sheppard show off a donated basket of family fun goodies, ready for the auction. Photo by Marcie Miller.

Two weeks before the annual fundraising auction, the conference room at Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County is overflowing with donations.

A framed Maxfield Parrish print leans against a Jodi Bergsma print. Blue “Grab-a-Bag” sacks from WECU festoon a coatrack. And a Victorian dollhouse shares a table with a basketful of goodies donated by a local business.

It’s a very busy time for Resource Development Manager, Fred Sheppard, staff and volunteers.

“This is the biggest fundraiser we have of this nature,” Fred said.

The Annual Raise the Roof Auction takes place Saturday, April 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at NorthWood Hall, 3240 Northwest Ave. in Bellingham.

Fred said the goal of the auction is to raise $50,000 for HFHWC, which will go toward building at least three single-family homes this year and breaking ground on the 52-unit Telegraph Townhouses project. Last year’s auction met that goal, helping to fund the building of two single-family homes. It’s appropriate that the theme of this year’s auction is “Creating Pathways,” as in pathways to homeownership.


Two hundred items in total have been donated from both businesses and individuals. Ten large ticket items will be up for bid in a live auction, while the rest will be displayed in a silent auction format. Items include meals, artwork, collectibles, sports equipment and memorabilia, wines, home and garden items, toys, jewelry and more.

Serving as auctioneers for the event will be local businessmen Mike Kent and Chet Kenoyer, who have proved their auctioneering chops at previous events.

Event-goers will have the chance to raise their paddles for items such as ten 10 oz. bars of silver (each valued at $172 at the time of donation), a salmon fishing trip in the San Juans with Keith Johnson ($350 value), a week-long holiday at Kala Point courtesy of Ken Trupp ($650 value) or a stunning pair of diamond and sapphire earrings from Borthwick Jewelry, Inc. in Ferndale (a whopping $1,400 value).

In addition to the exciting auction items, the evening includes a catered dinner (prime rib!), live entertainment with local acoustic musician Thomas Sandblom, several fun games and a “treasure chest,” Fred said.

View from Kala Point, a wooded community on Port Townsend Bay. Photo from

Tickets still available

Individual tickets are $45 and include two drinks (beer or wine), appetizers and dinner, as well as the entertainment and auctions. Why not make it a party? Full tables, with seating for 8, are available for $360.

To purchase tickets click here.

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.

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