Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County

Our Bramble Way Home Is Complete

The Santiago Reyes family came to Washington in 2006. They came to work in agriculture, on a raspberry farm in Lynden, Washington. Life in a small farm cabin was very difficult, especially in winter. There was a stove, electricity, and a small refrigerator, but no bathroom and no running water or heat. Today, Eli works as a painter at the Port of Bellingham.

It was the family’s connection to the Opportunity Council in Bellingham that they learned about Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County. Doors started to open for more stable housing. In 2010 the family moved to Bellingham, and applied for the Habitat program.

“When we applied to Habitat, we wanted to secure something for the family,” said Aracely. Eli and Aracely worked their sweat-equity hours in the Habitat Store when it was in Ferndale. “The ones who suffer the most are the kids. You always think more about your children than you do about yourself.”

We’re so happy to announce this month that the Santiago-Reyes home is complete! This beautiful, volunteer built home in Sudden Valley just passed the occupancy inspection this August and plans for the dedication are underway. 

Not only that, but the house received a .88 score in the recent Blower Door Test. The procedure is a bit technical, but our Construction Manager, Paul Stromdahl, summed it up nicely, “All houses leak to some degree or another,” he said, “If you have an old style aluminum window, even if it’s double paned, each window will have about a 6 inch hole.” This hole is a nonstop loss of heat in the winter—or coolness in the summer. Being in a poorly insulated house mid-winter would be like having the front door open 24/7. Our .88 score means that all of the holes in the house add up to an area smaller than a business card.

This means our Bramble home will be crazy efficient, which is not only great for the environment, it means a very comfortable home, with great air quality, that produces very affordable energy bills for the Santiago Reyes family. Air leakage can account for over 50% of a home’s heating and cooling costs, and contribute to problems with moisture, noise, dust, and entry of pollutants, insects, and rodents. Given that our homebuyers have had to endure our winters with no heat, we’re so proud to be providing them with such a comfortable home.

A huge thank you to our friend Shawn from A-1 Builders for coming by to perform the Blower Door Test for us.  It’s amazing to work with organizations that share our passion for efficient, environmentally friendly building. 

The need for safe, affordable housing is more important than ever. We here at Habitat have seen firsthand how improved living conditions lead to the improved health of our Partner Homebuyers. Any donation, big or small, will help us keep building here in Whatcom County. If you are able, please consider pledging $5 per month.

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