Skagit Habitat for Humanity highlights need for increased access to land for shelter on World Habitat Day
Mount Vernon, WA – September 28, 2017 — As the world continues to urbanize, cities will grow rapidly, with the number of people in need of decent housing increasing faster than ever before. To combat this growing trend, and in commemoration of World Habitat Day, Oct. 2, Skagit Habitat for Humanity is helping to bring attention to the often overlooked role of land for housing.
Habitat for Humanity’s global advocacy campaign, Solid Ground, focuses on improving policies and systems to increase access to land for shelter. Launched in March 2016, the campaign aims to touch the lives of 10 million people. Solid Ground is focused on four key areas: secure tenure, slum upgrading, disaster resilience and gender equality.
“Thanks to the support of partners and supporters, the campaign has already started to help millions of people access decent housing through changing land policies and systems,” said Kimberly Bell, Resource Development Coordinator “But there is still much work to be done. For many around the world, access to the land is the first big step toward having an affordable place to call home.”
Last year, over 150 governments agreed to the New Urban Agenda as a global framework highlighting the need for urban policies to emphasize housing, focus on secure tenure and prioritize community-led development. Skagit Habitat for Humanity invites its community and supporters to help ensure governments are held accountable to these commitments.
To learn more or to advocate for access to land for shelter, visit solidgroundcampaign.org/takeaction.
About Skagit Habitat for Humanity:
Since 1994, Skagit Habitat for Humanity Homebuyers have built 31 homes along with the many volunteers dedicated to the program. 3 Skagit Habitat Homeowners have payed-off their home mortgages and now own their homes outright. $624,720 in property tax has been invested back into our community by Skagit Habitat Homeowners since 1995 & $302,785 in sales tax has been generated from sales at the Skagit Habitat Store since opening in 2009. Over 290 individuals have received on-the-job training, providing them with the skills needed to obtain employment. Over 1,700 tons of resalable materials have been saved from local landfills to date from donations from the generous residents, businesses and organizations in our community. 37 low income Homeowners have received minor repairs and maintenance through Skagit Habitat’s Habitat Helpers Program, allowing them to live safer following these repairs and in some cases allowing them to stay in their homes, providing them financial stability. Through shelter, we empower!
World Habitat Day resources on habitat.org/whd
Habitat’s Solid Ground campaign: solidgroundcampaign.org/takeaction
Regence and Habitat for Humanity have once again partnered, this time in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Regence. This year we welcomed Regence employees as they joined us on the build site and worked alongside Future Homeowners and our many dedicated volunteers to build in the Summerlynd Neighborhood in Mount Vernon. As part of this partnership Regence has pledged $5,000 to Skagit Habitat for Humanity as well. Thank you Regence. Your contribution will pay for half of the next foundation poured at the Summerlynd development, giving a family in our community stability for generations to come!
Regence, rooted in a commitment to the communities they serve since June 2, 1917, was built on the idea of neighbors helping neighbors. This is a perfect fit for a partnership with Habitat for Humanity as we help Future Homeowners achieve the strength, stability and independence they need to build a better life for themselves and their families.
In an article featured in the Seattle Business Magazine, John Levesque discusses Regence’s centennial and how Regence grew from a small communal collective to covering more than 2.4 million people in four states. Read the full article “Past Experience: Most Happy Fellers” in the Seattle Business Magazine.
We also want to thank Olive Garden in Burlington for providing lunch on the day Regence was on site. They provided an elaborate feast of salad, bread sticks and build your own pasta that included a variety of noodles, sauces and toppers as well! Thank you for building strength in our crew as they worked alongside the Regence employees and Future Habitat Homeowners. We truly appreciate your continued support to Skagit Habitat as well as Habitat affiliates across the Country.
Bellingham, WA – June 7, 2017 – As part of its commitment to strengthening, energizing and supporting the communities in which it operates, Peoples Bank today announced that it awarded Skagit Habitat for Humanity a $25,000 Peoples Bank Impact Grant. The funds will be used to purchase a new utility van to support the construction of new homes and the organization’s growing volunteer and administrative needs.
“We were so impressed with the mission of Skagit Habitat for Humanity and moved by the important work they do in the community day in and day out. We are thrilled to be able to support their much-needed services with this Peoples Bank Impact Grant,” said Michelle Barrett, Executive Vice President and Director of Retail Banking and Human Resources at Peoples Bank. “As a locally-owned bank with third generation family leadership, we pride ourselves on building strong customer relationships, creating local job and economic opportunities, and giving generously to the community.”
“We are so grateful to be selected as the recipient of this generous $25,000 Impact Grant from Peoples Bank,” said Kimberly Bell, Resource Development Coordinator of Skagit Habitat for Humanity. “We were in great need of a new utility van to be able to support our New Home Construction Program, the Skagit Habitat Store, special events throughout the year, and our Habitat Helpers minor home repairs program. This grant allows us to continue these programs without disruption so that Skagit Habitat Homeowners achieve the strength, stability and independence they need to build a better life for themselves and their families.”
Addressing an Urgent Need
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, nearly 21,000 people in Washington state are homeless. Further, homelessness grew in Washington state 7.3 percent in 2016, the country’s second-largest increase. In recognition of the crisis, Seattle declared a state of emergency in November 2015.
While much of the attention and resources are focused on the homeless problem in Seattle, organizations such as Skagit Habitat for Humanity provide critical services when it comes to addressing the issue in smaller communities. Despite ranking 11th in the state in population, Skagit County has the seventh-highest homeless population, according to the Washington State Homeless Count. About a quarter of those are unsheltered, almost half are children under 18, and about one in ten are senior citizens.
The 2017 Peoples Bank Impact Grant was designed to provide a maximum of $25,000 to a single organization for a specific project, use, capital expense or identified purpose that will have a long lasting, positive impact on the community. Approximately 50 community organizations were invited to apply for the grant.
In addition to the Impact Grant, Peoples Bank donates hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to local and regional nonprofit organizations providing valuable services in the arts, child and family services, education, health and social services, and civics. For more information about Peoples Bank community giving, please visit peoplesbank-wa.com/about-us/community-giving.
About Peoples Bank
Peoples Bank is a locally owned and operated, independent community bank with almost $1.5 billion in assets. Headquartered in Bellingham, Washington, the Bank was founded in 1921 and operates 25 branches and two loan production offices located throughout Washington. In its most recent rating, Bauer Financial, a leading independent bank rating firm, awarded Peoples Bank a superior rating of five stars. This rating recognizes Peoples Bank’s strong financial management practices, dedicated employees and long-standing customer relationships.
ONE MORE TIME!
Believe it or not, at least on the calendar, Spring is just around the corner. So too is one more visit to Orcas Island by the Skagit Habitat for Humanity Store truck. The truck and volunteer drivers will be at Island Market parking lot again (thanks for your support) on Monday the 6th of March from 9:30 AM to noon. Please look at the list of things they will be allowed to accept by going to the Store’s website before you load things into your vehicle. Use “acceptible-and-not-acceptible-items-for-donation” to find this list.
“We really appreciate the growing cooperation that has developed between the Skagit Habitat Store and Orcas Recycling Services over the past three years,” said Pete Moe, Executive Director of ORS. “While we’ve been without the Exchange, Skagit Habitat has provided islanders with an opportunity to donate good things that can be reused by others. With a new Exchange just over the horizon, we’ll see less of the Habitat truck, but anticipate continuing our relationship with them as the situation offers.”
“If you have questions about the Skagit Habitat truck, the schedule, or what might be donated, please call Duff at 376-3032. He is our local point of contact for Skagit Habitat for Humanity, as well as the volunteer coordinator for the Exchange. You can also reach him at email@example.com.”
The lack of affordable housing has been an issue for quite some time in Skagit County. Recent data compiled on the new Skagit County Trends website showed that in 2015, more than a quarter (26.8%) of Skagit County renters paid more than half their monthly income on rent, a greater percentage than all of Washington (21.1%) and the entire US (23.5%). So it was a blessing to receive support for our builds from Skagit County again this year.
This year’s funding purchased the build rights from Home Trust of Skagit for two homes and a portion of building materials for one home in the Summerlynd Neighborhood, Mount Vernon. This grant, totaling $85,440, is the largest that Skagit Habitat has received from Skagit County to date. It is generous support like this that makes us say we have had a great year.
We will complete the two current builds by the end of this year or early 2017. We will be building four more homes over the next two years at Summerlynd, for a total of seven affordable homes in the neighborhood. Habitat Homeowners help build their own home alongside construction volunteers. In-kind donations of materials and services along with financial contributions from our many generous donors help keep our building costs down thus maintaining affordability. The Habitat Homeownership Program selects families based on ability to pay and keeps mortgage payments to 30% or less of our Homeowners’ incomes.
So let’s spread the word: Skagit Habitat mortgage payments are more affordable than rent! And, after all, strong and stable homes help build strong and stable communities.
A big “THANK YOU!” to everyone that made our first Black Friday Sale such a success! Whether you were in the Store getting a fantastic deal on a piece of furniture or were on the ground volunteering and helping our wonderful (and patient) customers; YOU helped to make a difference for a family in need here in Skagit County. This sale was a trial run for us as we normally close on the Friday after Thanksgiving. But this year we wanted to offer our customers one day of incredible savings, and it seemed to work out well for everyone.
As a matter of fact, we set a single day sales record on November 25th and I can say that I have never seen the Store so busy. We had a good sized line outside the door by the time we opened at 10:00am with customers coming as far away as Yakima. Both registers were going full steam most of the day and lines moved at a steady pace. Luckily the weather held out and we were able to get sold items out the door almost immediately, leaving the sales floor with some much needed floor space.
Another “THANK YOU” goes out to everyone that had to search for a parking spot. The top lot was filled very quickly, with some customers lining up as early as 9:00pm on Thursday night. Customers arriving later had to park farther down the lot, near the trail head. Everyone did a great job allowing space for other customers to pull in and out of the parking field. You can see just how busy the parking lot was in the photo below.
With such a successful event, you can bet we will be running another Black Friday sale in 2017 and beyond. And with ideas that we have gleaned from this sale we hope to provide everyone with a more exciting and enjoyable experience next year.
Thank you again,
Jason Harrison, G.M.
Skagit Habitat for Humanity Store
Thank you to all who supported Skagit Habitat for Humanity at the ‘Raise The Roof’ Dinner Auction on May 9, 2016 at 13moons Restaurant, Swinomish Casino and Lodge raising over $30,000 to help provide strength, stability and self-reliance through homeownership.
We couldn’t have done it without our Auctioneer for the evening Mike (In The Morning) Yeoman and our ‘Raise The Roof’ Team and the support of the Skagit Habitat Board of Directors.
Thank you to all who provided us with Auction package donations: Susie Alvarez, Kimberly Bell, Sorena and Wayne Brusseau, Deception Distilling, LLC, Carpenter Creek Winery, Jan Ellingson, Manny Gomez, Habitat Crafters, Trena Humerickhouse, Boyd and Janice Lanier, Lincoln Theater, Lowe’s Companies, Inc, Manresa Castle, Restaurant & Lounge, John Milnor, Dawn New, North Sound Oral & Facial Surgery, Gale and Ruth Ann O’Neil, Tom Peebles, Brian Poppe, Mary Roetciseonder, Sedro-Woolley Glass, Skagit Habitat Board of Directors, Carole Straathof, Twisted History Tours, Wayne’s Shuttle Service.
And a special thanks to all those who donated your time and/or home as Auction package party Hosts: Kayla Koopmans, Teresa Pugh, The Fabulous Hagen Sisters, Don & Danya Wolf.
Thank you to our Volunteers for the event including: our friends from Kohl’s ‘Associates in Action’ team Allison Himmelman, Marilyn Johnson, Caleb Marlow, Taylor Sanders, Jennifer Smith and Melissa Solis; our friends from US Bank who helped out at registration Daniel Bush, Elizabeth Craig and Caleb Marlow; as well as Kimberly Bell, Carol Boss, Bradley Davis, Christi Brua Weaver, Carol Hagen, Julie Hagen, Janice Lanier, John Milnor, Dawn New, Mary Roetciseonder and Melanie Sahnow.
And last but definitely not least thanks to Michael Boss for announcing the items in a style only to come from you; Brian Poppe for your words as Board President; to our Skagit Habitat Homeowners that spoke and shared their stories with our guests: Maria and Mark & Echo; to the staff of 13moons and Swinomish Casino & Lodge under the direction of Darlene Azure, Kristy Sedano and Sarah Nelson, as always you provided our guests with a night to remember!
Our vision is to empower people to empower themselves by providing tools and opportunities individuals in our community need to build a better life for themselves and their families. Together we can make a greater impact and we cannot do it without all of our supporters, so from the foundations of our hearts… Thank you!
In April of 2015 Skagit Habitat for Humanity Construction Coordinator Paublo Baca met with Lisa, Community Relations for WA of Sierra Pacific Industries. This meeting got the ‘ball rolling’ for a partnership that would result in Sierra Pacific Foundation making a generous donation of materials for one Skagit Habitat for Humanity home.
On October 27th we received the good news from Sierra Pacific Foundation that our request for lumber, a sliding door and all of the windows for one home in the Summerlynd Neighborhood had been granted!
On the 5th of May 2016 Lisa, along with other Sierra Pacific Industries representatives, came out to the build site during Skagit Habitat’s National Women Build Week. Representatives included Lisa, who is Community Relations for all of WA State, two representatives from the local Burlington Mill (Plant Manager and Human Resources) as well as a representative from Sierra Pacific Windows. It was great having Sierra Pacific join us on the build site to see how their donation is helping our organization and gave them an opportunity to meet the Future Homeowner who will directly benefit from this contribution.
Sierra Pacific is an environmentally responsible forest management company and talk about keeping it local… lumber grown locally, milled in Burlington and used on a Habitat home in Mount Vernon. But, we wouldn’t expect anything less from a company that prides itself on being a good neighbor.
About one month following Sierra Pacific Industries visit to the construction site, Skagit Habitat reached the phase of construction for installation of windows and doors. On June 2, 2016 core volunteers began installing the donated product. We cannot thank Sierra Pacific Foundation enough for seeing how strong and stable homes build strong and stable communities. All of the staff and volunteers here at Skagit Habitat appreciate the time Lisa, Brad, Janifer, and Mike took out of their busy schedules to come out and see how this donation will impact Selamawit and her family as they build a brighter future together. Thank you!
National Women Build Week is a nationwide initiative of Habitat’s Women Build program developed in partnership with Lowe’s. Lowe’s donated $2 million to support this year’s National Women Build Week and will provide $5,000 gift cards to 300 participating Habitat Affiliate organizations and $25,000 grants to support 10 Affiliates ‘Girls Night Out’ build events in cities across the U.S. Girls Night Out evening builds will take place in Lowe’s parking lots and will engage Lowe’s Heroes and Habitat volunteers, kicking off National Women Build Week. This year’s events will be part of a yearlong initiative between Lowe’s and Habitat for Humanity to build or repair 1,000 homes alongside families across the U.S. in time for the holidays. During National Women Build Week alone, volunteers across the country worked on 650 homes, which included the two homes here in Skagit County at the Summerlynd Development. We were excited to be selected for a second year in a row for this nationwide event!
We had several groups join us, alongside of our National Sponsor Lowe’s Companies, Inc., and support National Women Build Week again this year to be a part of improving our community together. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. We thank all of those who supported this year’s National Women Build Week. In addition to our National Sponsor Lowe’s we also received donations from: Costco Wholesale Corporation, Girl Scouts of Western Washington Troop #40730, Jersey Mike’s Subs, North Puget Sound Carpenters Local 70, Party City, Skagit Bank, Starbucks Corporation, US Bank, Woods Coffee… Thank you all! We also had groups throughout the week volunteering, in addition to our regular volunteers who are dedicated week in – week out to our program: Ellingson Home Group of Keller Williams Western Realty, Lowe’s Heroes from Mount Vernon and Bellevue stores, Mount Vernon Fire Department, North Puget Sound Carpenters Local 70, Skagit Bank, US Bank… Thank you all!! Skagit Bank and US Bank were also participating this year as a United Way of Skagit Days of Caring project. These groups had the opportunity to work alongside three Partner Families: Selamawit, Jose and Noelly and Vidal, building their homes, helping them achieve their goals and requirements as Habitat Homebuyers.
The excitement of Media Day also drew a crowd of special guests and media from Skagit Publishing resulting in front page coverage in the Skagit Valley Herald for the second year in a row for National Women Build Week on Saturday, May 7th. On Media Day we also had representatives from United Way of Skagit County, KAPS Radio personality Mike in the Morning, and Sierra Pacific Industries who donated doors, windows and lumber for Selamawit’s home. It was great having Sierra Pacific Industries and Windows representatives join us on the build site to see how their donation is helping our organization and meet the family who will directly benefit. Sierra Pacific is an environmentally responsible forest management company and talk about keeping it local: the lumber is grown locally, milled in Burlington and will be used on a Habitat home in Mount Vernon.
We cannot thank all those who volunteered and supported this week long event enough. We also thank Lowe’s for providing our two Lowe’s Clinics this year, held April 7 and 14 at Lowe’s teaching us about selecting and proper use and safety of hand and power tools. As always these were a great educational opportunity! Thank you, especially to Darrell Smiley and your fabulous team there at Mount Vernon Lowe’s Home Improvement! Looking forward to next year’s National Women Build Week!