Volunteering at the Construction Site
Our volunteers and partner homebuyers do most of the work of building each Habitat home. We’re always looking for volunteers of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels. No experience is necessary to join us on site!
Our qualified construction managers will work with you on-site to teach you all you need to know, provide safety instructions and provide all tool needed to confidently complete each task. To get things started, fill out the short, online form (below) so our volunteer manager can get in touch with you, schedule an in-person or online orientation and get you building as soon as possible!
We welcome individual volunteers, as well as volunteer groups from businesses, student organizations, churches, and civic groups to come volunteer with us. Volunteering on a Habitat home can be a fun and meaningful team-building or fellowship activity. It’s also a great opportunity to make new friends. Programs such as Women Build, Building on Faith, and Youth United Build, are perfect opportunities for you to explore to find the right fit for your interests, whether as an individual or with a group of your friends.
- Who can volunteer on the construction site?
We welcome everybody regardless of experience, ability, gender, religion, or political views. First-time volunteers must complete a liability waiver, criminal background check, and a brief orientation and safety training. Volunteers 16 to 18 years old are allowed on the job site but cannot use power tools or be above 10 feet (for example, on ladders or the roof). Volunteers 14 to 15 years old are allowed on the job site but are strictly limited to landscaping and painting work. For safety reasons, children under 14 are not eligible to be on any Habitat job site.
- Do I need construction experience?
Absolutely not! We welcome all volunteers whether they have lots of experience or none at all. All construction work is supervised by a professional construction manager. Staff and crew leaders are on hand to explain and oversee each step, to ensure work is being done correctly and safely, to answer your questions, and to help every volunteer have a productive and meaningful experience with us.
- What sort of work do construction volunteers do?
All kinds of tasks, including but not limited to: framing, insulating, siding, roofing, painting, and landscaping.
- What if the work involves things I am unable or unwilling to do?
We don’t want anyone to do work that might be outside their comfort level or ability. Please let a staff person know if there are tasks you can’t do and we will provide an appropriate alternative. Every helping hand makes a difference.
- What tools/supplies does Habitat provide, and what should I bring with me?
We provide all tools and necessary safety gear you will need, including hard hats, safety glasses, ear plugs, and gloves. Drinking water, first aid kit, and portable restroom facilities are available onsite. All you need to bring is your passion, enthusiasm, and a sack lunch (nothing that needs refrigeration). If a sponsor is providing lunch on your workday, we will let you know ahead of time. We recommend bringing your own work gloves if you have them (for personal preference). However, we have plenty of gloves available for you to use onsite. You’re welcome to bring your own safety gear or tools, too (please, no nail guns). Please write your name on anything you bring with you. Due to the nature of construction work, items do occasionally get lost or damaged and Habitat cannot accept responsibility for your items. For any outdoor activity in the Northwest, it’s a good idea to come prepared for a variety of weather conditions. Sunscreen, sunglasses, a rain jacket, and extra warm clothing are all items that might come in handy.
- What should I wear?
Dress appropriately for the weather and the work being done. Wear long pants and other clothing that fits well and that you don’t mind damaging or getting dirty. We advise dressing in layers. Wear work boots, hiking boots, or sturdy tennis shoes. Please do not wear sandals, flip-flops, or any kind of open toed shoes.
- When should I arrive?
Volunteer build days are typically scheduled weekly Wednesday – Saturday. Every workday begins with a brief introduction and a training session at 8:30 a.m., and finishes around 3:30 or 4 p.m. Please arrive by or before 8:30 because we need to check in volunteers, explain the day’s work to be done, and discuss safety issues. Any changes to this schedule, weather updates or cancelations will be emailed to build volunteers via the Builds Group emails.
- Where do I go to volunteer?
The address for every work party will be given to you when you sign up to volunteer for a given project (based on your interests). If you need directions or have any questions, please call our Affiliate Office at 360.715.9170, or email us at email@example.com.
- If I’ve never volunteered with Habitat before, how do I get started?
First, you need to complete a brief orientation and safety training all of which can be completed online here. You will need to complete the volunteer interest form and sign a liability waiver. Our volunteer coordinator Shelly will conduct a a criminal background check and contact with you to answer any questions and sign up up for a volunteer shift! For any questions prior to completing the online orientation please call our office at 360.715.9170 ext. 1016 or email Shelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Once I’ve done my orientation and paperwork, how do I sign up for a work day?
Once you have completed your orientation and paperwork, call our Affiliate Office at 360.715.9170, or email us at email@example.com, and we’ll get you assigned to a construction project.
Current Construction Projects
The Telegraph Townhomes Community is an innovative, affordable housing solution created in partnership between Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County, the Kulshan Community Land Trust and the Whatcom Community Foundation.
Telegraph Townhome will provide 50+ new, permanently affordable homes for working, low-income individuals and families. This flagship project represents the our green-movement vision. We’re testing ourselves and our ideas every day as this exciting project becomes a reality.
Every home at Telegraph will be more affordable than ever because we’re investing in building net-zero-ready and solar-ready homes. This means that the savings in heating and maintenance costs of Telegraph homes will put extra cash into every homeowner’s pocket to be used for other vital living expenses, such as food, education, and healthcare.
We are also building two tiny homes at our Telegraph Townhome site, that will serve as transitional housing at Unity Village. This project is done in partnership with the nonprofit Homes Now! Not Later… and the City of Bellingham.
The Santiago-Reyes home in Sudden Valley has just been completed in time for the holidays! Huge thank you to all of the volunteers whose hard work made this possible.
Up next we’re building this same home on another property in Sudden Valley. Come work with us today so that one of our homebuyer families can move into their forever home in 2021!