Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County

Construction Update: June 2023

Where We're At

We are still awaiting permits on our projects in Sumas, Custer, Bellingham and Everson. Nevertheless, we have been busy this past month with a bit of housekeeping and a number of projects thanks to a newly developed partnership. Read on for more.

Sumas

The home we have been deconstructing in Sumas is now down to its bare bones. What remains inside is the rigid ductwork, a singular electrical receptacle dangling from the ceiling, the breaker panel, and framing (exterior walls and roof trusses).

Our volunteers spent a few days this past month tearing down the remaining interior walls, cutting all of the plumbing down to stubs at the slab, cutting wires off at the breaker box and pulling them down from the attic, and tidying up the empty frame.

We hauled all of the studs from the interior walls back to the Telegraph Townhome project site where we plan to reuse them in a future building. Any metal including ductwork, pipes, and more that was removed during deconstruction was transported to our store to be recycled. The same will be true of any electrical wiring that we could salvage.

Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative

Last month, we entered into a partnership with Whatcom Long Term Recovery Group (WLTRG) to work on flood repair projects in and around Everson as part of our Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative.

Many families in Everson and other north county locales are still living in damaged and unsafe homes after the devastating Nooksack River flood in 2021. Hoping to restore these homes to safe living conditions, the city of Everson gave an allowance of $20,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to our affiliate to complete such repairs.

Our partnership with Whatcom Long Term Recovery Group has been mutually beneficial, as they have been in need of volunteer labor to complete projects, and we were in need of a database of families seeking assistance. In addition, their funding allows us to spread our influence to other locales, as our ARPA funds are only applicable to projects in Everson.

So far, we have completed repairs on five homes in the Everson Mobile Home Estates using a combination of partnership funds. In four homes, we have either repaired or replaced subflooring that was damaged by water. Following this, we installed new clicklock flooring in bedrooms and living areas and vinyl flooring in bathrooms. We finished these projects by putting in new baseboards to replace what we had pulled up for floor repairs. Two of these homes also required exterior door replacements, and we are beginning to build a new rear porch for one. At the fifth home, we replaced the exterior skirting that was ripped loose by floodwaters and installed a new shed door.

In addition, we have worked on two homes in Sumas and one in Deming using WLTRG funds. In Sumas, we replaced a window on one home and the exterior skirting around another. In Deming, we replaced the siding on the rear of a home.

We have thoroughly enjoyed the work we have completed so far in this partnership and are excited to continue on to new projects in the future. We also look forward to further developing our neighborhood revitalization initiative, especially by working on projects that relate to the worsening effects of climate change. Investing more of our time in these projects is just one way that we are working to develop a climate resilient Whatcom County.

Telegraph Townhomes

We celebrated Father’s Day this past weekend at the Telegraph Townhomes with a Grill and Drill event where volunteers made cornhole boards.

What little time we’ve spent at the Telegraph Townhomes this past month has been primarily focused on preparing for the next phase of the project by felling two more large cedars to make room for phase 1C. These cedars, as was the case with the two trees we felled last month, will be milled by a generous volunteer. The lumber, once dried, will be used as fencing material at the Telegraph Townhomes.

Secondarily, we have spent time sprucing up the site by topping off our planter beds with mulch. In addition, we performed our routine maintenance by mowing around the stormwater retention pond on site as well as in the wetland mitigation area adjacent to the community.

Where We're Headed

We are unsure which permit will drop first, but plan to continue our neighborhood revitalization projects until that time comes. Stay tuned to learn what project we will be starting on next, and visit our website to learn where you can volunteer with us each week.

There are many ways to bring affordable housing to our community and every hand makes a difference!

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