Kittitas County Habitat Celebrates Phase One for Stuart Meadows

Six families received the keys to their forever homes in Ellensburg this May when Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity dedicated Phase One of its Stuart Meadows development. 

When complete, Stuart Meadows will offer 18 three-bedroom homes providing affordable housing for up to 85 Ellensburg residents. Phase One completion was celebrated not only by Kittitas County Habitat, but by the community of Ellensburg. By addressing the area’s critical need for affordable housing, Stuart Meadows will strengthen the local economy and stabilize the area’s workforce.

Stephanie Bohman, Area Director of Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity, calls Stuart Meadows “… the beginning of an inspiring partnership with our community partners, individual donors and resolute volunteers …” 

The six new homes in Stuart Meadows were built with volunteer effort and sweat equity from the residents who’ll move in. New homeowner James enthusiastically declared, “Working together on building these houses, we really bonded as a family. And that’s how I feel about Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity. They’re also a family to me.”  

The potential for Stuart Meadows’ positive impact on Ellensburg goes beyond the development itself.  It is seen by area residents as fostering a supportive community network that will strengthen mutual aid among neighbors. 

Like all Habitat developments, Stuart Meadows is fulfilling long held wishes for its new homeowners. Teresa who also got keys to her Stuart Meadows home says “Right now, it all feels like a dream. But my vison is for everyone to come together, to be good neighbors and to share the joy of having a place to call home.”

Stuart Meadows is another success in Habitat for Humanity’s mission to build safe, decent and affordable places for everyone to call home. 

Habitat Repairs Bring Health and Safety to a Federal Way Couple

Love brought Annama Joseph to the United States from India 34 years ago.  She came here to marry Varghese, a U.S. veteran and fellow Indian immigrant.  They lived happily in their Federal Way home for 20 years and raised two daughters there.  But, as their fortunes changed, they struggled financially.  

Annama was seriously injured in her job as a nursing assistant when a violent patient kicked her in the face and neck.  The injuries were so severe, she was rendered unable to work and has been receiving a disability pension since 2015.  At about the same time, her husband Varghese was declared disabled due to a neurological disorder.  Their income plummeted, making home maintenance a low priority.

For years they had undetectable leaks in their bathroom that caused mold to grow in the house.  Both Annama and Vhalise suffered regular respiratory illnesses.  In addition, the insulation in their attic and crawlspace had disintegrated causing their utility bills to be extraordinarily high. Despite assessments by several professionals, the sources of their problems were not detected until a Habitat repairs crew got inside their home.

“In about one month,” Annama says, “the Habitat people finished all the repairs.”

The couple received a completely new bathroom, including added grab bars and a new shower door.  The mold was eradicated, and so were their respiratory problems.  Outside, the crew replaced the corroded gutters and the rotting deck. 

Insulation was added to the attic and crawlspace, too.  “Our utility bill is 50% lower now than it was before the repairs,” Annama declares. She adds that the bill has remained low through the winter, even though her pain requires extra warmth. “My disability is progressing, so it’s important that I stay warm.”

She raves about the Habitat crew. “They did a very, very good job. And they are very nice people. They helped us so much. They are great people, all very special in my life.”

If you know someone in need of critical repairs in your community, please visit: Home Repairs – Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties (habitatskc.org)

The Joy of Fresh Paint and a Little Help

Dan Autry has lived self-sufficiently in his Kittitas home for more than 26 years. He’s a retired Vietnam veteran, and when his manufactured home needed work, he welcomed in Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity volunteers.

Dan takes pride in his home, and it needed a new paint job that didn’t fit his budget. “Those volunteers painted the whole home,” Dan says happily. “In fact, Tahaina (Petrovitch, on the Habitat staff) did 90% of the painting herself.”  The Kittitas crew also replaced the sheeting that circles his home from ground to its outside wall and they added insulation to his front and back doors.

Dan learned about Kittitas County Habitat from a friend who told a friend, and he was delighted he could qualify for repairs assistance.  He says his home is looking so much better and , “the work Habitat did was great.”

After two tours of duty in the Army during the Vietnam war, most notably during the TET offensive, Dan became a civilian in 1979. “To me it was just about getting out, coming home, taking off that uniform, and being a civilian.” He’s satisfied these days to stay in his home and take care of himself. He’s grateful for the service Habitat extended to him.

“I appreciate everything they’ve done for me. I drop in just to say ‘Hi’ to Tammy and Tahaina. They’re real nice people.” He adds that he spreads the word about Habitat whenever he can so others might get the help they need – just as he did.

Habitat Repairs Keep a Hub of Comfort Going

Ivory Haywood embarked on a big adventure in 1972 when she followed her older brother to Seattle from rural Mississippi. He came here to join a pro basketball team and Ivory came in search of opportunity for herself. She’s still living in South Seattle and raising her twin granddaughters in the home she purchased in 1994.

As a single mother, Ivory raised one biological child, one adopted child and two others in foster care. “I’ve had 30 or 40 foster kids in my care over the years. There are so many kids who need a home.”  She did all this while engaged in a 33-year career with the City of Seattle administrative offices.

It’s an understatement to say Ivory’s home is a hub of comfort for her family and community. The repairs Habitat provided included waterproofing, significant deck repair, installing handrails and grab bars and retaining wall repair. These updates make her feel safe and more secure in her home as she ages in place and as her granddaughters grow up.

A recent cancer diagnosis and treatment rendered Ivory somewhat disabled. Her eldest daughter has moved into her home to help, and the Habitat repairs have enhanced their home life.  “Habitat did some magnificent things for us. I didn’t think I’d need it so soon, but that new deck allows me to get outdoors and enjoy the air.”

Ivory is looking forward to returning to the volunteer work that sustains her emotionally and spiritually. “Helping others helps my mental health,” she says. She is involved with Kinship (a group of seniors who care for others in their community); she volunteers with Catholic Community Services; and has been an active church member. The Habitat repairs will make it possible for her to continue that work when her cancer treatment is complete.

Ivory sings Habitat’s praises every chance she gets and has been delighted with the quality of the craftsmanship. “It is totally amazing how everything has turned out. I don’t have the words to say how wonderful it is. Habitat has saved me from so much.”