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.
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.
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!