For the past 17 years, Habitat for Humanity has had a vision for the annual, national Home Builders Blitz Program. What began as one affiliate’s challenge in Raleigh, North Carolina, to build one house each day over a 5-day period, getting local businesses to donate as much of the materials as possible, has become a centerpiece of Habitat’s unique ability to bring together the for-profit building sector with the nonprofit home-building mission and volunteers of Habitat.
From this improbable beginning, virtually every Habitat affiliate around the country now hosts their own version of the annual Home Builders Blitz. This year, Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom county hosted our Blitz event from October 10 through October 21. Many of the builders, subcontractors, and suppliers who joined us this year are already actively involved with Habitat.
This year we are particularly grateful for the expert help provided by Bellingham’s Highline Construction.
“We sent a team of 4 over to Telegraph, and we did a bunch of work for the Blitz week. We did a lot of window trim and helped put up some house wrap, just did what we could. I actually got to work in the field myself, which I don’t get to do much anymore, so it was really, really fun!” said Trevor Swezey (pictured above), owner of Highline Construction.
“And while Habitat was waiting to get some stuff through permitting, we’ve had a few crews doing work at Telegraph at cost as well, in addition to doing the Blitz day for free.”
Highline Construction is a general contractor specializing in new-home construction as well as large-scale remodels. They’ve been in business for 8 years. “We’ve kind of figured out what we’re really good at,” said Swezey. “We’re trying to do more things that we’re really good at and that are fun for the team, and that are sustainable for our business and as recession-proof as possible.
“Right now, a lot of our work is focused on the residential side of things,” he added. “We’re trying to slowly move into the commercial realm more. As a business owner, I really value systems and processes. It’s one of the things I love about my business, getting to develop those management processes.
“From our perspective, I would say home building is on the upswing,” Swezey continued, “but I’m no economic forecaster,” he says, laughing. “Certainly, a large percentage of our projects are for people who are moving here from out of town. There are a lot of people who find this area very desirable.
Why did Highline Construction to get involved with this year’s Home Builders Blitz at Telegraph? It came down to how he could give back to the community at a time when there is a real housing crisis in Whatcom County.
“If people don’t have their basic needs met, like housing, it makes it virtually impossible for them to move forward in life,” said Swezey. “If you don’t have a safe, secure place to go home to at night, a place that you can sustainably afford, it makes, for example, going to night classes to further your education impossible. It makes even taking care of your family really difficult.
“It’s a basic human need,” he continued. “Habitat helps to provide that. So, Habitat was a natural choice for us to work with as a nonprofit. I grew up in a healthy, stable environment. But there are a lot of families out there who don’t have that. So, to be able to give back to those who don’t, I mean, it’s a blessing.”
[Every cash gift we receive at Habitat, no matter how small, returns when each Habitat homebuyer makes their monthly mortgage payments, enabling us to purchase more supplies for another home. Habitat’s core value, “a hand-up, not a hand-out,” means that every penny is repaid. Please consider pledging $5 per month.]