Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County

Our Everson Project has begun!  

 

Our construction crew has started work on another large scale project this February – the Mateo Meadows Community — located near downtown Everson, on East Lincoln Street. This project will include 30 townhomes, with a mix of two, three and four bedrooms.

 

Telegraph with a twist?

 

Like our Telegraph townhome community, we will be using the permanent affordability model, and the homes will be placed in a Habitat land trust. Like Telegraph, these will also be extremely energy efficient, Habitat Passive homes, which will be built one building at a time.

 

Unlike the Telegraph Townhome Project, this community will have 7,000 sq/ft of commercial space, as well as 8 apartments. These rental spaces are not typical for a Habitat development — they were added to accommodate the commercial zoning requirements — but we are all very excited about what it could open up for us.

 

We’re still exploring ideas for this space, but our dream is to create an opportunity for a small business owner to live above their own shop, and to use the apartments as an opportunity for tenants to build equity with each rent payment.

 

Who we are serving 

 

We will also be expanding on the idea of the mixed-income community with Mateo Meadows, covering a wider income range than we have before. Of the 30 townhomes, 25% will be sold to those earning 80%-120% AMI, the “missing middle”, who don’t qualify for standard affordability subsidies, but don’t make enough to buy a home off the market. Although not typically served by Habitat for Humanity, it is critical to address the lack of affordable options this range, since local economies depend on a stock of affordable housing to house essential workers – such as teachers, firefighters, police officers, postal workers, etc.

 

25% of the homes will be reserved to very low-income families, who earn between 30 to 50% AMI. Due to land price increases, these clients have also been extremely difficult to serve, even with the available subsidies. The remaining 50% of the townhomes will serve the traditional Habitat range of 30 to 80% AMI.

 

The impact

 

By building a multi-family housing complex in an already developed space, and within city limits, Mateo Meadows will greatly minimize the impact that housing developments often have on the environment, conserving our valuable forests and natural resources. The location will be optimal for minimizing dependence on individual carbon-based transportation, with walking distance to downtown, local shops, the Everson Market, the Everson Public Library, and a WCTA bus stop.


Some concerns have been raised about the possible impacts caused by building in the floodplain. A hydraulic evaluation report found that the maximum impact is predicted to be well below the allowable rise per the City of Everson flood code, and even qualifying as “no-rise” per FEMA guidelines. You can read the full hydraulic evaluation report here.


 

Why Mateo Meadows? 

 

Terry Mattson served as our Executive Director over a decade ago, and did a great deal to build up our Whatcom Habitat affiliate. He earned the nickname of Mateo during his time serving communities in Central America.

 

Mateo was an incredibly amiable person with many connections in the county, particularly in the faith community. His rare passion for serving others was contagious. As the director of Habitat, he could start a home with nothing in the bank, and summon up community resources and volunteers to finish the project. It affirmed his belief that God will provide.

 

Through a nonprofit he started, Seeds of Righteousness, Mateo helped build churches, homes and provided basic necessities for those living in poverty in Central America. “He took service to others very seriously,” said Mike Roberts, one of our Habitat board members who worked with Mateo, “That level of commitment, you don’t see a whole lot of that today. Even after he had to go in for dialysis, and after he had a kidney transplant, his doctors warned him to not subject his body to contaminated water; he still went down there and did the work. He continued to work even after gang violence escalated to the point he needed a bodyguard by his side at all times.” 

 

Naming our Everson project after him is a small way to show thanks to someone who laid a strong foundation for our organization. Because of what Mateo accomplished over a decade ago, we’re an organization capable of taking on this ambitious project.

 

Getting involved

 

With two large projects, and the potential of more single-family homes in the near future, our need for volunteers is greater than ever. We provide training and equipment for all of our construction volunteers, and there will soon be opportunities to help build throughout Whatcom County. If you’d like to volunteer with us, sign up below!


Help families get into our program

Our Homebuyer Selection Committee is looking for volunteers to help process applicants, help them with the paperwork, perform home visits, and work with our board with selecting families.

Help families succeed in our program

Our support committee is in charge of making sure our partner families have all of the resources they need to fulfill our requirements before moving into their Habitat home

Merchandising, moving, sorting & pricing? 

No two days are the same at our Habitat Store. Our team has fun and works hard to make sure donations are processed, merchandised, and sold, all to make sure we can build affordable homes here in Whatcom.

Like throwing a good party? 

Our Events Committee is looking for more members to help with our many fundraising events.

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