Author: Communications Manager

 

Our Plans for 2017

2016 was a productive year for Habitat! We:

  • Started and completed 2 rehabilitation projects (with the Chapina and Gutierrez families)
  • Began a rehab project with the Lyons family
  • Welcomed 3 new partner homebuyer families to the program (see here and here)
  • Completed the complex mitigation process for the Leeside project and poured the foundation
  • Made real headway on our Telegraph Townhomes project, slated for groundbreaking sometime in 2017
  • … and more!

2017, Here We Come!

As we look ahead to 2017, our hearts are filled with gratitude for the generosity of our too-numerous-to-name donors and volunteers. Hope, too … for the year ahead, for our partner homebuyers, for Habitat, and for this community we’re so proud to call home. Our plans are ambitious:

  • Build a home in Birch Bay with the Ortiz family and our dedicated Women Build volunteers
  • Complete the Lyons family rehab project
  • Begin 2 to 3 more single-family ground-up builds
  • Break ground on our very first multi-family housing project, Telegraph Townhomes, in partnership with Kulshan Community Land Trust
  • Shepherd our new partner homebuyers through the sweat equity building proces
  • Grow Habitat Store sales so that it can provide even greater support for our mission to end poverty housing in Whatcom County

We Need Your Help

Without community support, all our plans are just beautiful ideas. As you make your own plans for the coming year, we hope you’ll consider dedicating some of your resources – whether it’s time, money, or expertise – to helping your neighbors achieve strength, stability, and self-reliance through Habitat shelter. Email volunteer@hfhwhatcom.org to learn more about volunteering at Habitat. Join the Carpenters Club by following this link and selecting monthly donation frequency. Donate to the Habitat Store. There are many ways to get involved. And together we can make 2017 Habitat’s most productive year yet!

Donating to the Habitat Store Couldn’t Be Easier!

Did you know that we offer a free pick-up service for large donations? Our friendly pick-up crew will drive out to your home, office, or storage facility, load your donation onto the Habitat truck, and drive it gratefully away. All you need to do is call the store at (360) 778-2036 or click here to schedule a convenient time.

What to Expect

When you call or click, we’ll ask you for some information about where you’re located, the items you’re donating, and the best time to come collect your donation. Please note that it is highly unlikely that we’ll be able to provide same-day service. More often than not, we’re scheduling about a week out. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can get you on our calendar!

When Our Crew Arrives

Our truck is manned by dedicated staff and volunteers who are committed to Habitat’s mission to end poverty housing. We do our best to screen your donation ahead of time to ensure that:

  • there’s enough room on the truck
  • nothing is too heavy for our crew to lift and load safely
  • every item can be resold in our store

From time to time, however, our crew arrives to find items they cannot take (a piano, for example, which we do accept but are unable to pick up). It’s best to give us a thorough list when you schedule your donation that way we can inform you of any conflicts immediately.

Final Questions

After they’ve loaded up your donation, our crew will ask you to complete a brief survey about the service we provided. They’ll also ask you for a monetary donation to help defray the cost of this free service. If you’re able, please give whatever your heart and circumstances allow so that we can continue to offer donation pick-up in Whatcom County. Finally, they’ll thank you – from all of us – for donating to Habitat.

Unsinkable: Melody & Tyler

Meet one of our newest homebuyer families: Melody, Tyler, and their 4 children (only the youngest is pictured here). These folks have weathered some serious storms, most notably a wind storm that dropped a tree through their motor home and left a gaping hole. But they never give up. After the wind storm, they bought what they could afford to replace the ruined motor home – a small school bus approximately 20 feet by 8 feet – and kept living, kept working, kept going to school.

An Expensive Way to Live

When a generous donor gave Habitat a trailer, Melody and Tyler were able to upgrade their living conditions somewhat. There’s a leak in the roof and they aren’t hooked up to water, power, or sewer so they run a generator and have an outdoor toilet. Both the generator and the toilet are costly to use – at least $20 per day for gas and $100 per month for the toilet. “It’s a pretty expensive way to live,” Tyler says.

Examples for Us All

Melody and Tyler learned about Habitat from the Ferndale Food Bank and applied. They joined our program this past year and are highly motivated, already working hard on their sweat equity hours. They still have to make difficult choices sometimes, like whether to heat or eat. But they refuse to sink. They are energetic, dedicated examples for all of us who have struggled to stay afloat in one way or another … and that’s everyone, isn’t it?

Volunteer at the Habitat Store!

carmenOne of our most steadfast, dedicated store volunteers is leaving us next month. A military veteran, Carmen approaches her job in our receiving department with the kind of thoroughness and inexhaustibility one might expect from a former member of the armed forces. We are sorry to see her go but very grateful for all she’s given us.

Train with Carmen

Carmen works Tuesday through Saturday from 9am to 3pm. We don’t expect to find one person to replace her, but if you’re interested in helping out at Habitat and are available for a regular shift sometime within Carmen’s working hours, let us know! Carmen will be leaving us mid-January so new volunteers who start soon will be able to train directly with her.

Get Started Today!

If you’ve never volunteered with Habitat before, you’ll need to:

If you’ve already completed your orientation, paperwork, and background check, contact Janet to sign up for a shift. Carmen will be happy to show you the ropes!

Washington Federal Supports Telegraph Townhomes Project

john-receiving-check-from-josh-guthrieJosh Guthrie, Branch Manager of Washington Federal’s Cornwall branch, stopped by yesterday with a quite a gift … a $1000 check to support our Telegraph Townhomes project! “Affordable housing is a passion for us,” he said, adding that it’s also a particular passion of his, having personally experienced the impact a safe, decent, affordable place to call home can have on families. He came into our offices to personally deliver the gift – from the Washington Federal Foundation – and wish us luck with the project, which will create affordable housing opportunities for 24 local families.

Thank you, Josh, and Washington Federal for helping to build strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter. We are grateful!

We Need You on #GivingTuesday

giving-tuesday-promo-for-constant-contact

A message from our Executive Director:

#GivingTuesday is less than a week away and if you choose to participate I hope that you will consider Habitat for Humanity.A safe, decent place to lay your head at night is a basic human need.  Over 14,000 in Whatcom County will struggle this Thanksgiving to provide for their family, not only this coming Thursday, but every day, because their living conditions are substandard or – equally detrimental – unaffordable.

If you and only 99 others donate $25.00 by 11/29/16 we will be able to purchase the materials to put a roof on the home of Juana and Julio Ortiz and their 4 children and weather the house in.  Here are some additional ways your gift will be put to work:
  1. The Ortiz’s mortgage payment is based on cost, financed at 0%, and set at no more than 28% of the family’s gross income. This means the family can afford other basics such as food, clothing and health care.
  2. The affordable payment means there is reduced need to utilize other support social services.
  3. The affordable payment means that children don’t move from school system to school system due to another rent increase.
  4. At 0%, every mortgage payment builds 100% equity. It’s like putting the entire amount into a savings account.  The stability and ability to weather difficult times is priceless.
  5. Every mortgage payment helps the next family in need by providing unrestricted cash flow to support Habitat’s mission to eradicate substandard living conditions in Whatcom County.  Habitat founder Millard Fuller called this Biblical Economics.

Your gift gives in so many ways and it is needed more than ever. Please click here and make a huge difference in the prospects for this and many other future families in need of housing.

Wishing all a warm, safe and memorable Thanksgiving full of many meaningful moments with family and friends.

John P.C. Moon
Executive Director
Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County

Habitat Hero: Bill Brausieck

bill-brausieckIn these uncertain and troubled times, we at Habitat feel extra lucky to witness generosity, humility, and concern for the welfare of others demonstrated daily by our volunteers. Bill Brausieck, for instance. A retired engineer, these days Bill gets paid zero dollars and zero cents to help working families in our community achieve independence through affordable home ownership. And he does it with bill-brausieck-3the same regularity that the rest of us work paying jobs. Now more than ever, folks like Bill are heroes to us.

“A Blessing for Me”

Bill headed up the Haxton Way project last year, helping the Van Dyken family construct a safe, decent home and helping the volunteers have a positive and productive experience on the build site. Easily a full-time job, but Bill did it all pro bono. “I look at Habitat more as a blessing for me,” Bill says, “because it gives me a place to put my energy for wanting bill-brausieck-2to build things and help people. I get to feel partly responsible for the happiness of others.”

Cause for Hope

For 6 years we’ve had the good fortune to be Bill’s blessing and we hope to retain the privilege for as long as he’ll have us. With folks like Bill around, our community will always have cause for hope.

Habitat Happenings

pouring-the-footingThings are moving right along with our build out in Birch Bay. Last week we completed the formwork for the foundation footing. Yesterday we poured the footing and tomorrow we’ll set the forms for the stem wall. Once the foundation is complete, we can build a house with the Ortiz family! Want to help? Email Janet at volunteer@hfhwhatcom.org or call (360) 715-9170.

Work for Habitat

ashley-eric-amandaWe’re hiring in the store! We’re looking for a full-time Assistant Store Manager and a part-time Donation Ambassador/Warehouse Attendant/Driver. If you’re passionate about the need for affordable housing, Habitat might be a great fit for you. Come on in and apply!

Join Our Carpenters Club to Build without Lifting a Hammer

It takes more than labor to build a house. For every home we must raise about $150,000 for land and materials. We’ve relaunched our Carpenters Club giving program – an easy and convenient way to help build without ever breaking a sweat. By signing up to give monthly recurring donations through your credit card, debit card, or bank account, you help create a reliable stream of monetary support that is vital to building safe, decent, affordable shelter in partnership with working families. Call Hillary at (360) 715-9170 or email hillary.pritchard@hfhwhatcom.org to learn more. Click here and choose monthly donation frequency to sign up now. When you give, you build!

Meet the Lopez Family

whole-lopez-family_croppedErlin and Sergio Lopez live in a 3-bedroom apartment with their 4 children. Which would be a little snug but overall not too bad if it weren’t for the fact that they share that 3-bedroom apartment with several extended family members. As it is, Erlin, Sergio, and their kids live crammed into a single bedroom. Way beyond snug.

Working Towards Home Ownership

sergio-lopez-painting-the-gutierrez-shed
Sergio Lopez at work on the Sumas rehab

Like so many Whatcom County residents, the Lopez family works, goes to school, and pays their bills … but still can’t afford safe, decent shelter through traditional channels. So when they heard about Habitat, they immediately applied to become homeowners. They joined our program in August and have been working hard on their sweat equity hours. When we asked Erlin and Sergio what they’re looking forward to most about owning their own house, they said, “Having a steady home where we’ll be able to see our kids grow.” They said the kids are already lobbying hard for a dog!

Proud Partners of Habitat

sergio-and-erlin_croppedWhen we asked Erlin and Sergio what they’d like people to know about them, they answered plainly, “That we’re not bad people.” Indeed, we’re proud to partner with this amazing family. But we know about the judgment and intolerance so many hard-working folks face simply because they can’t afford decent shelter in a world where housing grows more expensive and unattainable every day. We invite any who may have doubt to volunteer … we’re confident that if you work alongside any one of our partner homebuyer families, you will finish the day with a changed heart.

 

 

Progress on Leeside Drive

clearing-at-leeside-croppedWe’re making real progress out in Birch Bay, thanks largely to the generosity of our supporters. On Monday, Mike Peetoom – owner and operator of Mike Peetoom Construction LLC – brought one of his earth movers out to the site and got to work. He scraped grass and topsoil and dug the trenches for the foundation. A lifelong Whatcom County resident, Mike was happy to be able to help. “I’m a dirt guy,” he said, grinning. “If you want me to swing a hammer, I’m worthless.”

You Don’t Have to Swing a Hammer to Help Build a House

mike-roberts-john-paradis-john-moon-2Like Mike, John Paradis of Umpqua Bank, supports Habitat generously. He served on our Board of Directors for 10 years and now serves as the Co-Chair of our Homebuyer Selection Committee. “I believe in what Habitat’s doing,” he says. “I’m all about affordable housing. And we’ve got some really great [homebuyers] we’ve been able to work with.” Today he presented us with a $4000 check from the Umpqua Bank Charitable Foundation for the Leeside project. Women Build and Youth United Build teams will soon begin constructing the Ortiz-Mendoza home with the family.

Celebrate Progress with Us

Join us on Sunday, October 30th at the Habitat Store from 2 to 4pm for a Permit Party to celebrate the progress we’ve made so far. We’ll have plenty of cake and inspiration to fuel us for the next phase of the project … building a house!

 

 

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