Habitat SKC is officially one year into the building of Megan’s Meadow – a housing community dedicated specifically to Veteran homeownership – and we’re proud to be working on our sixth home there! We’re especially excited to be building again alongside Delta Air Lines, whose passion for serving Veterans was the impetus for Habitat launching this community last year.
After building three other homes with Habitat in King County from 2013-2015, Delta learned of Habitat’s Megan’s Meadows land in south King County, where the largest numbers of Veterans in the county with disabilities, poverty, and emergency financial needs live. After visiting numerous sites for potential projects, Barry Mathews—Delta’s Habitat Program Manager—advocated for a multi-year project for former members of the military. “Without Delta’s vision and support, we might not be building a Veterans community in Pacific right now,” said Andy Varyu, Habitat SKC’s Development Director.
Delta kicked off the Megan’s Meadow community with a blitz build on the first home last fall. That home is now occupied by Joe, a disabled Naval Veteran who made a career out of his military service, who now has a place to call home, where he doesn’t have to worry about stretching his fixed income to keep up with the rapidly rising cost of rent in the Seattle area. Having moved to the state of Washington because of all the advantages of living close to Veteran resources, Joe entered the Habitat homeownership program hoping it would give him a stability that he’s never really known before. As Joe said, “I think I would have little to no chance of finding a good home with the way the climate of the housing market is today.”
This year’s future Habitat homeowner selected for the Delta Build home is Maclovia, a Veteran mother of two who moved to the Seattle area for work. After searching for an affordable home in the south King County area for over a year, she entered the Habitat homeownership program intent on investing in her family’s future and providing nothing less than a home where her family can spread out as they grow in a small community where she can feel safe taking her children out for a walk or bike ride around the neighborhood.
Since 2000, Delta and Habitat for Humanity have been building a long term partnership internationally to fuel affordable homeownership for families with low incomes. Maclovia’s home will be the 5th house Delta Air Lines has fully sponsored and built from the ground up in King County, and the 245th home Delta has built with Habitat worldwide. In addition to funding the construction of the home, Delta employees volunteer their time and labor to participate in a 6-week-long blitz build where they start and complete a house for a Habitat partner family. This particular community will be one of the few new, permanent, single-family homes suitable and affordable for low-income and disabled Veterans in King County.
When Habitat SKC decided to integrate the unique needs and position of the Veteran community into our vision of affordable homeownership for Seattleites, Delta Air Lines jumped right on board. Embodying the Habitat for Humanity vision, current Delta Project Coordinator, Kelly, shared his perspective on the project, saying,
“Volunteering really gives perspective on things that I’m grateful for and in this case, working with Habitat for Humanity, being really grateful to have a comfortable home and a good place to raise a family. It’s something I feel that we all should be able to have and it’s a great opportunity to be able to help in that situation.”
Delta Project Coordination Lead, Dave, joined the Seattle planning team this year, having led Delta Build projects in Cincinnati, Ohio for 15 years and bringing a wealth of experience and a big heart. He shared his perspective on Delta’s connection with the build program,
“Having a place for Veterans to live is important. There’s a major issue of Veterans being homeless and falling between the cracks. It’s a huge thing to get them stable housing. There are so many Veterans at Delta, it would be inconceivable not to support that.”
As the team rallies each day to onboard volunteers and make more progress towards building a home for Maclovia’s family, Dave believes it’s also important to remind volunteers that their impact goes beyond today:
“I make a point to tell volunteers every day: the work you do today is very immediate, tangible, and impactful – today, tomorrow, the next day and the next. The home we build for Maclovia and her children will not only change the course of their lives, but their children’s lives and their children’s children. It’s a generational thing. It’s more than today. It’s the proverbial pebble in the pond. And the impact even goes further, as it creates community in Pacific, Auburn, and neighboring towns. What we are building is more than putting a nail in the wall, or a coat of paint, it’s what comes from our hearts. It’s the true stability, warmth, support, and joy that Maclovia and her family can lean on.”
Habitat construction leaders agree that the Delta Build has infused new energy into the site for staff and volunteers alike. “The fact that we have big groups of passionate people coming out every day is great,” shared Habitat Construction Crew Lead, Ben.
“I love the energy and the pace that we’re building this house at, it’s crazy to see. A few weeks ago this was just a concrete pad and now there’s a house on it. Maclovia even stopped by and she was just amazed at how fast her house was coming along.”
We’ll be wrapping up the blitz build and celebrating this next phase for Maclovia and her children this November at her Home Dedication Ceremony! To follow Maclovia’s journey to homeownership, check out the Habitat SKC Flickr page and Facebook page for updates!