Celebrating National Homeownership Month in June

Recent research from Habitat International confirms the benefits of homeownership to families and society as a whole. Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties is celebrating those benefits with National Homeownership Month in June.

Among the findings is that social and civic engagement are essential to representation in the democratic process, and both are heavily influenced by access to — or lack of — affordable housing. Homeownership and the stability it provides to low-income families improves life satisfaction, increases civic participation and affects positive educational and health outcomes for families.

Habitat homeowner Makio Pastolero started by volunteering at Habitat’s Tyler Town North Bend community. He worked there every Saturday for a year and learned a lot in the process.  

His fellow volunteers encouraged Makio to apply for a Tyler Town home as his family grew and, in 2023, he acquired a 3-bedroom home with a yard for himself, his wife and baby girl.

“When we moved in,” he says, “it really felt more like our home, because I remember laying the floor, caulking the windows, building the deck, and painting.  I would not have done it any other way. Now, I have a passion for maintaining my home and my community.”

Habitat homeowner Iulia Zabadov credits her education to the financial stability that owning her Snoqualmie Habitat home gave her. Iulia earned a BA in Business Administration and is now employed by Bellevue College. She was able to go to school while working full time, because she had plenty of neighborhood support. Iulia says the help she received from her neighbors was a “safe haven” for herself and her children. “It is a wonderful neighborhood for them to grow up in.” Her son Nicolae is studying electrical engineering at Bellevue College, and daughter Vera is in high school.  

Habitat research also found that homeownership can mitigate some racial gaps in civic engagement. When levels of education, income and employment are equal, Black populations are equally civically engaged compared with their white counterparts. 

Habitat SKKC is an active member of the Black Homeowners Initiative (BHI) with its mission to create more Black homeowners in our region, and a partnership with African Community Housing & Development (ACHD) to build and steward 65 new, permanently affordable homes across three sites on Martin Luther King Way S. in Seattle’s Rainier Valley.

Habitat homeowner Treaous Florence-Moreland (Tea) feels the stability of homeownership has helped her children’s education, as well as her financial situation. With a stable location, Tea’s children were able to live close to their schools, friends, and family; a few of them have attended Seattle Central Community College. Tea herself has attended UW classes, growing her career from medical assistant to administration at the Medical Center. Now, she’s looking ahead to retirement with a sense of security. 

Habitat for Humanity affiliates share the same vision: a world where everyone has a safe, decent, and affordable place to live.  National Homeownership Month is an opportunity to support that mission and to amplify the message that homeownership is good for everybody.  

How to Celebrate Homeownership Month this June

Anyone can contribute to Habitat SKKC’s celebration of National Homeownership Month.  Here’s how: 

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 Celebrates 17 Years of Women Building for Women

This year’s Women Build program will offer multiple points of participation for individuals, friendship teams, and women from area organizations to fund projects, build affordable homes, and revitalize neighborhoods.  From April 27 to May 18, area women will be empowered  to help move Habitat’s mission forward by doing everything from working in Habitat stores to joining construction and repair teams on site.  

The purpose of Women Build is to honor the central role that women play to empower one another, make an impact, and change lives. The bonus for participants is to learn and share skills, support local women homeowners, and to build up King County, together.

In the program’s 17 years, women from all walks of life have given back to their communities and enriched their own lives while making a real difference in the lives of our region’s hard-working, low-income families. Women Build volunteers are empowered to help ensure affordable housing continues to be built. This program gives women the satisfaction that comes with giving hands-up help to other women and their families.  

This year’s co-sponsor for Women Build is Prime Electric, inspired by Lisa K who participated in past Women Build events, “I have been telling everyone that my experience on the Habitat for Humanity Women Build far exceeded my expectations and was

truly one of the most empowering experiences of my life! Truly.”

April 27 – May 18, 2024

  • Women of Impact Build: May 4
  • Group Builds: April 29 – May 11
  • Individual Builds: May 13-18

(Individual volunteers will be asked to donate $150 to take part in a Women Build day)

To sign up individually or for your organization, go to  Habitat Women Build.

To take advantage of corporate sponsorship opportunities, get in touch with alex.wyatt@habitatskc.org

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)