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.”

Car Donation Pays Off for Habitat and for Donors

Most of us remember our first car. 

For Sudhanshu Kumar, his first car meant independence in his new country. 

“When I moved to the States, before I learned how to drive or owned this car, I had to rely on others to move around,” he said.

Once he earned his license and his Hyundai Tiburon, Sudhanshu was free to go wherever he wanted. 

“I still remember finding the best pancake place in the city and driving this car to get there.  That’s one of the moments I felt such immense happiness and freedom.”

Sudhanshu recently donated his Tiburon and all those memories to Habitat for Humanity’s Cars for Homes program.

“I thank this car for such wonderful memories, and while I part with it, I am also happy to know if it might be of some use and value to others in need.”

Indeed, Sudhanshu’s generous donation will provide significant support to Habitat’s mission of providing everyone a decent and affordable place to live. Since 2005, Habitat’s nationwide Cars for Homes program has raised more than $30 million and repurposed over 120,000 cars. 

In addition to helping fund affordable homeownership, the Cars for Homes program helps to reduce carbon emissions in our atmosphere. According to a carbon reduction study by Worcester Polytech Institute, cars recycled properly can play a big role in reducing carbon emissions in the automotive manufacturing industry because recycling reduces the need to refine new materials.

Sudhanshu learned about Habitat’s Cars for Homes program from an ad on a Metro bus.

“I was commuting here in Seattle when I saw a sticker for an option to donate the car. I knew then and there if I ever parted ways with my Hyundai Tiburon, that’s what I would do. Being able to do that is such a wonderful feeling.”

Habitat’s Cars for Homes program is a win-win for potential homeowners, for the environment and it’s personally gratifying for the donor.  Donating a vehicle – cars, trucks, RVs, vans, SUVs, boats, and motorcycles, running or not – is simple.  Towing is free! And many are tax deductible. Click the link for details and instructions.

Habitat Adds New Roof and New Life to Old Home

After months of searching for help to repair their home, Carlean and Eddie Green finally found the support they needed through Habitat for Humanity SKKC. Their Skyway home, where they have lived for more than 30 years, was in dire need of repair, especially the leaking roof that posed a threat to the entire house. Despite applying to various organizations that provide assistance to older adults, the Greens either didn’t qualify financially or the necessary funding was unavailable. With time running out, Carlean turned to Habitat for help, following a friend’s recommendation.

What set Habitat apart was their approach. Unlike other organizations, Habitat didn’t require the Greens to have money in the bank or be free of credit card debt. The Habitat team got right to work, understanding the urgency of the situation. In just 15 days, they replaced the roof, gutters, and eaves of the 64-year-old ranch-style home. Eddie, who is retired and disabled, praised the Habitat repair team, highlighting their professionalism and efficiency. They promptly addressed any additional issues they encountered during the repairs, keeping the Greens informed throughout the process. Carlean also commended the team for their politeness and respect.

“They (the Habitat team) got right to work,” Carlean said.

The total cost of the repair project, including the brand-new roof, was estimated at $17,000 by Eddie.

“We didn’t have to pay a cent,” Eddie said. 

Thanks to Habitat’s assistance, Carlean can now care for her six-month-old grandson while his mother works, free from the anxiety caused by the deteriorating condition of their home.

If given the opportunity to express his gratitude to the Habitat team, Eddie would offer his heartfelt thanks and a warm hug. For him, Habitat for Humanity is at the top of his list, representing a beacon of hope and a source of immense support in their time of need.

The Greens’ experience with Habitat for Humanity SKKC serves as a powerful testament to the organization’s mission and impact. By providing affordable housing solutions and critical home repairs, Habitat ensures that families like the Greens can continue to live in safe and sustainable homes. Their work goes beyond construction; it builds communities, preserves legacies, and transforms lives.

Habitat’s commitment to serving those in need, regardless of their financial circumstances, is truly commendable. Through their efforts, families can maintain the stability and security they deserve, creating a brighter future for themselves and the generations to come.

Carlean and Eddie Green’s story is a reminder of the profound impact that organizations like Habitat for Humanity have on individuals and communities. Their dedication to providing shelter and restoring homes not only improves living conditions but also instills hope, dignity, and a sense of belonging. It is through the unwavering support of organizations like Habitat that dreams are preserved, families are empowered, and communities thrive.

Tyler Town Welcomes New Habitat Homeowners

“For me, it’s about realizing the American Dream,” said Marian Hom as she accepted the keys to her new Habitat home at Tyler Town in North Bend. Along with her partner Tim Martin, and six other families, Marian’s dream came true on Saturday, April 15 at the Tyler Town Dedication ceremony. Just 18 months ago, Habitat for Humanity SKKC Board members, staff, and local North Bend officials broke ground at Tyler Town, which Habitat volunteers and the qualifying families then worked together to complete.

In this region where the median home price is $1.2 million, seven families whose dream of homeownership seemed unattainable, moved into their 1,250 sq. ft., three bedrooms, 1.5 bath homes with the promise of long-term financial stability, independence, and equity-building that homeownership provides. This was made possible through the generosity of the late George J. Krsak whose family who donated Tyler Town’s land to Habitat for Humanity three years ago. 

George J. Krsak grew up in the small town of Tyler, WA, outside Spokane, hence the Tyler Town name for Habitat’s development.  He and his wife Rita Horan raised their family on the values of commitment to community. At the Dedication Ceremony, George Krsak’s daughter Mimi reflected on her father’s life as the sixth of seven children in an immigrant farming family. “The people of the town of Tyler helped each other. They birthed their babies at home. They educated their children. They shared what food they had. They cared for the sick and they buried their dead.”

The bequest of the Krsak land has already infused Tyler Town with that spirit of community. Mimi Krsak went on to say “Our family is proud to share our heritage with these seven families. And we wish you joy and the peace that comes with family and neighborly solidarity. Stay together, love and forgive each other. Believe in the best for all as you have been given. Someday it will be your turn to give. May the circle of kinship ever increase.”

Krsak’s wish for the new homeowners in Tyler Town mirrors the hope Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties places into every home it builds. Habitat CEO Brett D’Antonio put it this way, “Tyler Town exemplifies what is possible with a real estate donation. By donating this land, the Krsak family transformed what was once a single-home property into homes for seven families who can now thrive and contribute to this area of high opportunity. A gift of real estate provides tax benefits to the donor, while helping transform the lives of local families with safe, decent, affordable housing.”

In conveying his deep gratitude to the Krsak family, Brett D’Antonio said, “Tyler Town is one of 14 projects Habitat has under construction or in the permitting stage, totaling more than 260 homes, from North Bend, to Burien, in Seattle, Renton, Ellensburg, Bothell, and Bellevue. The pipeline is a mix of family sized homes as well as one- and two-bedroom condos. Habitat staff members are working on several additional projects that will likely be announced by year’s end.”

At the Dedication, Habitat board member and North Bend resident, Jonathan Pearlstein expressed the reality of the work Habitat does, “We all hear and read a lot about the nationwide crisis of lack of affordable homes. We don’t have to travel anywhere to witness it. The crisis is right here in our town. Well, many of you here today have picked up hammers and struck your blows against the crisis right on this very site.”

Along with Pearlstein, the new homeowners were welcomed by North Bend’s mayor Bob McFarland who expressed pride in his community’s support for their new neighbors. U.S. Representative Kim Schrier praised Habitat for its commitment to providing affordable homeownership as “…the key to stability and safety.”

If you are interested in speaking with Habitat for Humanity SKKC about land donation, please contact Chief Development Officer Amy Farrier at amy.farrier@habitatskc.org