Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County

Construction Update: March 2023

Where We Are

The present moment at Habitat for Humanity of Whatcom County could be described as a sort of “calm before the storm” as we wait for permits to drop for our projects in Custer, Everson, and Bellingham. Expect to have the luxury of choice in the near future when it comes to volunteering on a HFH Whatcom construction site; we intend to have multiple sites open most days.

Click here to find out where you can volunteer with us each week.

Habitat Store Improvements

In anticipation of this controlled chaos our affiliate has been growing. The construction crew has been frontloaded with folks who are passionate about our mission and excited to divide and conquer across HFH Whatcom’s future project sites. 

Our store and executive staff have grown too, which led to the remodel that has been creating a ruckus in our store for the last two months. Fear not, store patrons, our work is complete! We’ve expanded off the staff conference room to add three 9’x7′ offices and revitalized the conference room with a fresh coat of paint. Construction team members and volunteers have also been helping the store to make the most of its floorspace by constructing large tables to stack merchandise. 

Stop by to check them out and get a feel for the craftsmanship of our volunteers!

Telegraph Townhomes

Move-ins are imminent at Telegraph 1B as the units passed final inspection nearly a month ago and are, for all intents and purposes, complete. We’ve spent little time there over the past three months in comparison to our work at the store. Nevertheless, in this time we have finished a number of projects, both big and small, to prepare the units for occupancy.

The most visible change has been the labor-intensive landscaping project to bring 1B to code in accordance with City of Bellingham Green Factor requirements. In total, we planted 10 trees ranging from small to large canopies at maturity, 135 shrubs two feet or taller at maturity, 38 groundcover plants, and 17 climbing vines. We were fortunate enough to personally test the hardiness of the shrubs and groundcover by doing more than half of the planting after overnight snowfall. The plants, being native to the Pacific Northwest, appeared unbothered–though our makeshift greenhouse to melt the frozen root balls may have played a part.

Inside the units, we have been making finishing touches like hanging mirrors, towel bars, and toilet paper holders in bathrooms, putting up closet bars and shelf systems, and deep-cleaning. Each unit recently received its own fridge, washer and dryer, all of which have found their respective nooks. Outside, we also painted our fire lane curb to meet code.

We estimate that 90% of Telegraph 1B’s construction was completed by volunteers. In the last year, our construction volunteers donated over 7,000 hours of labor to our affiliate, factoring out to a value of $210,825.47. See our annual report for more.

Tiny Homes

Our focus the last two weeks has been on the construction of two 8’x11’ tiny homes which will act as bunkhouses for our incoming AmeriCorps volunteers. We started by constructing SIP Panel floors which maximize insulation against the cold air beneath the structures. After some of our regular volunteers framed the walls, staff and friends of Ethos West Construction came out last Saturday and stood said walls, framed and rolled trusses, and sheeted the roofs.

They were our first group of Women Build 2023. Thanks Ethos West!

This past week, we ran wiring and placed receptacle boxes, put up a majority of the siding on each home, installed windows, and finished off by starting to insulate the walls. It is amazing how quick they are coming together!

Mateo Meadows

Last month, we finalized the purchase of a 3.5 acre lot on Lincoln Street in Everson. Plans for this lot include 30 townhomes and 8,000 square feet of commercial space with apartments upstairs. 

The most recent developments here have included the shifting of materials from our Bellingham site to the warehouse on the property, the organization of said materials and tools, and the framing of rooms in a corner of this warehouse which are intended to be an office, bathrooms, and a breakroom. Additionally, we completed soil testing on site two weeks ago. In doing so, we excavated 9 test pits to observe surface soil and groundwater conditions around the project site and assessed liquefication potential and overall soil conditions through subcontracted cone penetrometer testing to a depth of approximately 60 feet. We are, subsequently, giddy with anticipation for the day we actually break ground.

Click here to read more about our plans for this project.

geotest 2

Where We Are Headed

As was noted above, our Whatcom County affiliate has ambitious plans for the coming months. 

We will, of course, break ground for the next phase of the Telegraph Townhome Project and begin the first phase at Mateo Meadows. In addition, we are awaiting permits to begin construction in Custer, where we will be building an 1,100 square foot single-family home. 

Finally, be on the lookout for information about the acquisition of another property in Sumas and the construction plans for this site.

Mateo Meadows

Telegraph Townhomes

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

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