Homeowners Building Community

Our Sammamish Cottage community has been buzzing with activity this summer, as families moved into their new homes. They’re doing more than hauling in furniture and unpacking. They’re building community.

On a recent visit to Sammamish, Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County CEO Brett D’Antonio found four neighbors visiting with each other on Chinh Vo’s front porch.

“This is my favorite part of the house,” Chinh said, gazing down at the picturesque cluster of 10 homes, each facing inward toward a courtyard with benches and garden beds. “To see everyone coming and going, the kids playing … it’s wonderful.”

Families often host community gatherings in the courtyard. Chinh’s next door neighbor invited everyone to a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony one recent Sunday, roasting the beans on the porch, lighting incense and leading a prayer before serving the floral and aromatic brew. Another family threw a birthday party for one of their kids, under the shade of a large umbrella that Chinh donated so folks have a cool place to sit and talk on hot, sunny days.

A native of Vietnam who immigrated to the U.S. with his family when he was a young boy, Chinh has been slowly moving into his home since we dedicated the Sammamish Cottages in June. He’s shopped at Habitat Stores for his furniture — both for the bargains and because he feels a deep sense of gratitude for Habitat and wants to give back.

Chinh suffered a devastating stroke not long after he was approved for our homeownership program. Volunteers jumped in to help with his sweat equity obligation when he had to spend months in a wheelchair, focusing all his energy on healing, and giving his brain time to rewire itself.

He’s made steady strides in his recovery. As Chinh rebuilds strength on the right side of his body, he embraces the challenge of living in a two-story house.

“Those stairs are giving me a workout!” he said, “but they also encourage me to continue to get stronger. … Small progress is still progress, and I will get there one day!”

Chinh is grateful for his neighbors, the community they’re building together, and all that Habitat has done to make their dreams of homeownership come true.

“I would not trade this community for anything,” Chinh says.

Learn more about Chinh in our upcoming 2019 Gratitude Report.