Homeownership Builds Community

Homeownership is about so much more than a simple roof over one’s head. It’s also about community, which means finding a neighborhood that feels like home. 

For Shukri Yusuf, who arrived in the Seattle area from Mombasa, Kenya at 12, West Seattle has been home since 2004. Over the years, Shukri got married there, had a son, and became a single mother in 2020. She remained in West Seattle throughout where she teaches in a neighborhood public school, living with her parents as she saved for a down payment on her own home. 

The more she saved, though, and looked around Seattle for housing, the more she realized she was severely out-priced. She feared she would have to leave West Seattle, or even the state, if she was to find an affordable house for herself and son, Zayn. The idea of leaving her beloved neighborhood for a house she could afford in a place where she knew no one was a poor option and one she dreaded.

Shukri explored any and all possibilities in her search for a way to remain in the community and still have a home of her own. She considered getting a down payment grant for a condo, even though getting a condo anywhere close to her beloved West Seattle neighborhood was impossible. As she searched, she learned about Habitat for Humanity through the King County homeowner assistance website. With help from Habitat, she was able to purchase a newly constructed, three-bedroom home in West Seattle – the first home she’s ever owned.

Shukri and Zayn now live in their own home in the neighborhood they call Home. It’s just five minutes from the school where Shukri teaches. Zayn is growing up in a supportive community where he’ll have maximum opportunities to thrive. For Shukri, this means planting roots and growing herself in a safe place with friends and family to share life’s ups and downs. As she says, Shukri is finally Home.

“When you have a community that you connect with it can offer you support in all of life’s phases. I feel a part of the community that I have called home since 2004 and I feel supported through some of the tough times that I have experienced in the past … I see it as my duty to help and support others that need help in my school community.”

More than a house, a home of one’s own builds Community through a sense of belonging and pride in the neighborhood called Home. It’s a hidden legacy that comes with help from Habitat for Humanity.

AT&T Donates $10,000 to Habitat for Humanity SKC After Completing Monthlong Employee Volunteer Effort

AT&T presented a contribution of $10,000 to Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County on Wednesday, September 28 as 18 local AT&T employee volunteers worked with future residents to build housing at Highland Terrace in the Delridge neighborhood of Seattle. The six permanently affordable homes at Highland Terrace are expected to be ready in the summer of 2023.  The project will offer families earning less than 80% of Area Media Income two and three-bedroom units with easy access to nearby parks, schools, and transit. 

“We are delighted that AT&T has chosen to partner with Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County on its month-long volunteer effort and are very grateful for the donation,” said Brett D’Antonio, CEO, Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties. “It will take private, public, and non-profit sectors coming together to address our region’s housing affordability crisis and AT&T has proven to be a leader in the effort.”

The monthlong employee volunteer effort is a part of the AT&T Believes Washington initiative.  AT&T Believes is a company-wide, localized effort to combine employees’ passions and volunteerism with AT&T’s resources and relationships. 30 area AT&T employees volunteered with Habitat for Humanity of Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties on four different dates and locations in September, including at Highland Terrace, the North Bend Tyler Town construction site, and the Habitat for Humanity Stores in Bellevue and Southcenter. 

“AT&T employees jumped at the chance to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Seattle-King and Kittitas Counties,” said Carl Gipson, State President, AT&T Washington.  “These homes will be a source of security and peace of mind for their owners.  It was uplifting for our volunteers to work side-by-side with families to help build their future home.”

Habitat for Humanity Seattle–King & Kittitas Counties focuses its mission on building, repairing, and preserving permanently affordable housing and believes everyone deserves a decent, safe, and affordable place to live. With a current pipeline of 270+ homes in various phases of planning and construction, Habitat SKC is on track to surpass its ambitious goal of building and selling 1,000 cumulative housing solutions to low-income community members by 2025.

If your company would like to make a contribution and/or is interested in volunteering with Habitat for Humanity SKC, please contact Angela Appleton at angela.appleton@habitatskc.org

Critical Home Repair Spotlight: Sandra

Sandra Browne is a single, 83-year-old woman whose grandfather was an enslaved person from the Deep South. In 1884, after slavery had legally ended in America, her grandfather moved to the Seattle area to escape racism and discrimination, and to search for better opportunities for his family and himself. Ever since, the family has lived and thrived in Skyway, a neighborhood nestled between Renton and Tukwila.

As age and weather began to take its toll on Sandra’s home, she reached out to Habitat’s Repair Program for assistance when she noticed her roof was leaking. Habitat worked with a roofer to replace her roof, repair water damage, and install new fascia and downspouts. Inside her home, Habitat also repaired the ceiling in her bedroom where the roof had leaked. There were many nights before the home repair where Sandra found herself so worried about her bedroom roof caving in from water leaks—which was a valid concern—that she slept in other parts of her home.

The repairs to her home have given Sandra more pride in her dwelling, as well as a sense of security and safety. She said it meant a lot to have her roof repaired, so she could go back to sleeping in her bedroom, where she feels the most comfortable.

Being able to sleep in one’s own bed should be a nonissue. For many homeowners, however, especially low-to-moderate income homeowners and older adults, critical repairs just like Sandra’s can go unfulfilled. Having the right partner resources is a critical link. Habitat’s Home Repair Program works with homeowners who need assistance with critical repairs that will ease health and safety issues and increase their quality of life in the home. The program helps keep low- and moderate- income homeowners not just safely in their primary residence, but also in the community they know and love.

Learn more about the program here. http://www.habitatskc.org/what-we-do/home-repairs/

Habitat in the News KIRO 7: Repairs done by Habitat for Humanity help keep people in their homes

Habitat for Humanity Seattle—King & Kittitas Counties is heading into one of its largest fundraising weeks with its “Beyond the Build luncheon” — sponsored by KIRO 7 — coming up next week.

The group has hit some major milestones this year. KIRO 7 reporter Ranji Sinha spoke with Debbie Waters, who said the group’s work isn’t just about building from the ground up, it’s also working to keep people in their homes.

“I didn’t realize that they did the repair work.”

Habitat Home Repairs recipient Debbie Waters, who said she had lived with a rickety staircase for years.

Read the full article here.

Beyond the Build Luncheon Raises $1.7M to Combat Affordable Housing Crisis

Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties returned to the Seattle Convention Center on Thursday, June 2 to host our annual fundraising luncheon Beyond the Build – held in person for the first time in two years. And, we are thrilled to report that it raised more than $1.7M to combat our region’s affordable housing crisis!

Emceed by KIRO7 anchor and reporter Aaron Wright and attended by more than 600 people, it featured keynote speaker Jessica Bruder, award-winning author of Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century. Bruder illustrated the clear connection between Habitat’s mission and the people portrayed in her novel and Oscar-winning film – specifically its Repairs Program, which helps to keep people housed and allows seniors to Age in Place.

Habitat Board President Kat Sims presented Bank of America with the Community Leader of the Year award. Habitat SKC’s partnership with Bank of America has spanned 25 years and incorporates engagement of its employees with significant financial support. In presenting the award, Sims said: “As a long-standing partner, Bank of America sets the gold standard for what it means to be a Habitat corporate partner. Since 1995, in King County alone, Bank of America has donated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and filled more than 155 volunteer shifts across 19 different group volunteer days.”   

Kerri Schroeder, Seattle Market President, Bank of America who accepted the award stated: “Habitat for Humanity has been one of those steadfast partners for decades, so we’re deeply honored by this recognition as we continue to work together to find solutions that expand safe and stable housing here in King County and beyond.”

Bank of America’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity International dates from the early years of the Jimmy and Roslyn Carter Work Project and has continued to grow. Today, Bank of America’s contributions to Habitat for Humanity International total $75 million of support, with more than $55 million in cash and property donations.

Habitat’s Volunteer of the Year award went to Steve Hill for his service on the Weyerhaeuser Alumni Campaign. Steve led a group of eight retired Weyerhaeuser Company executives on a campaign to sponsor a “Habitat House a Year,” which resulted in pledges from 94 former colleagues who committed $1.18 million over five years to two Habitat affiliates. The funds Steve and his colleagues collected will provide housing for ten families over five years.

Additionally, luncheon guests heard directly from Habitat Partner Families about how their donations have made a direct impact on their lives and futures. Habitat CEO Brett D’Antonio declared this year’s Beyond the Build luncheon a resounding success, both for the generosity of those who attended and for the profound insights provided by keynote speaker Jessica Bruder.

All photos taken by Alabastro Photography.