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.
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.
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!
In October of 2014 Skagit Habitat for Humanity purchased a used forklift to replace the one we had that was on its last leg, leaking fluids and in constant need of maintenance/repairs. In January 2015, just after the 90-day warranty expired, we discovered a crack in the engine block. In May 2015 we began the grant application process to seek a funder for another forklift. Farmers Equipment Company of Burlington worked with us and provided discounts on rental/loaner machines on and off as our forklift was giving out and helped us to find a good used forklift at a great price. In December 2015 the best news of the year came in–PACCAR Inc had granted us the $29,000 for a forklift. In the mean time Farmers Equipment Company had found us a brand new forklift for about the same price of our original bid!
A forklift is a vital function of our organization, the Store as well as our community through forklift training we provide. The forklift is used to move items and merchandise around our warehouse, load and unload our delivery truck, move stock for our construction site and Habitat Helpers (critical home repairs program) which we store in a large loft area above the back section of our warehouse, and storing overstock and large items on the top shelving sections of our warehouse sales floor of the Store.
Skagit Habitat for Humanity has become one of the largest on-the-job training centers in Skagit County with our forklift training being an asset to enhancing the skills for so many that are seeking work in our community. Since the purchase of the new forklift, we sent two staff members to a Train-the-Trainer class to become certified to provide forklift training for volunteers, staff, and the general public. These trainings help us to continue empowering people in our community to empower themselves, improving their lives and bettering their future for themselves and their families. Once they successfully complete training, job seekers become a certified forklift operator and increase their opportunities for re-employment. The certification can be for those individuals employed already but needing to re-new their certificate as well.
Thank you again to PACCAR Inc for their generosity through grant funding that allowed us to purchase a brand new forklift! Thanks to Brandon and everyone at Farmers Equipment Company for their time and patience as we sought out grant funding, and for getting us such a great deal on the forklift which allowed us to also purchase a powered pallet jack and lift.
….So next time you are at the Store, stop by and welcome ‘Kimi’ to the Skagit Habitat Crew!
Skagit Habitat for Humanity would like to thank Shell Puget Sound Refinery volunteers for their continued support and a great United Way of Skagit County Days of Caring project. The four volunteers helped with construction on the Flores home at the Summerlynd Property in Mount Vernon. The volunteers installed Hardie Shingles on the exterior of the garage, and finished air sealing the interior of the home using caulk, insulation, and foam seal. The air sealing ensures the home will be extremely energy efficient.
Skagit Habitat for Humanity relies on volunteer labor to keep our new construction homes affordable for our Partner Families, keeping in line with our Mission and allowing them to work with us towards the ‘American Dream’ of becoming a successful homeowner. We cannot thank our community partners enough for their support and dedication. Thank you Shell Puget Sound Refinery employees for making a difference with this Days of Caring project!
Skagit Habitat for Humanity would like to thank the Skagit Bank volunteers for another great United Way of Skagit County Days of Caring Project funded by Thrivent Financial and their “Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity” partnership program. The ten volunteers completed a Habitat Helpers project on a Mount Vernon low-income homeowners house. The employees of Skagit Bank have been continual supporters of Skagit Habitat for Humanity with this being their second Days of Caring project this year already.
The volunteers of this project removed rotting boards on the front porch and replaced them with treated wood that will last decades. They sealed a leaking gutter that was contributing to the rotting boards, as well. They stained the back porch to protect the wood, and took care of landscaping issues. Because of the weather, they were unable to paint the front porch, but returned the following Wednesday to finish the job.
Skagit Habitat for Humanity relies on volunteer labor to keep repairs affordable for our Habitat Helpers Partner Families, keeping in line with our Mission and allowing them to safely stay in their homes. We cannot thank our community partners enough for their support and dedication. Thank you Skagit Bank for making a difference with another Days of Caring project!
Skagit Habitat for Humanity would like to thank the US Bank volunteers for another great United Way of Skagit County Days of Caring project on September 18, 2015 at our Summerlynd Property build site. US Bank’s continued support is greatly appreciated; they have not only financially supported our affordable housing program and our Habitat Helpers Program, but partnered through volunteerism throughout the years as well. We recently received
funding towards our affordable housing program through the annual grant for US Bancorp in the amount of $4,500. The team came to the worksite to continue building the Flores family home; this is the second time US Bank has had the opportunity to work on this home. They were out on site in May for the 2015 National Women Build Week.
The six volunteers helped to install cement board siding, put their muscles to work moving scaffolding, and attached trim around the porch ceiling. They also finished air sealing the interior of the house in order to ensure the home meets energy efficient standards. US Bank provided a delicious pizza lunch for everyone on site, too!
Skagit Habitat for Humanity relies on volunteer labor to keep the houses we build affordable for our Partner Families, keeping in line with our Mission. We cannot thank our community partners enough for their support and dedication to help us make homeownership a possibility for low-income families. Thank you US Bank for making a difference with another Days of Caring project!