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.

Axios: Seattle voters to decide on $970 million housing levy

In response to Seattle’s growing affordability challenge, voters in the city will soon make a crucial decision regarding Proposition No. 1, a new citywide housing levy. If approved, this levy is projected to generate approximately $970 million over the next seven years, primarily allocated to affordable housing projects and rental assistance. The stark reality is that Seattle is grappling with a shortage of approximately 21,000 affordable housing units, forcing many workers, long-term residents, and families to leave. Read the full Axios article here.

Mayor Bruce Harrell and groups like Habitat for Humanity are urging voters to pass the levy, citing the urgency of the city’s housing crisis. According to Ryan Donohue, Chief Advocacy Officer for Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King and Kittitas Counties told Axios, the levy will cost the average Seattle household roughly “the price of a large pumpkin spice latte every week.” As Cliff Cawthon, the group’s Advocacy and Policy Manager, puts it, that’s “a small price to pay to make sure our neighbors have a safe and affordable place to live.”

Proposition No. 1 aims to renew an expiring property tax levy that was last approved by voters in 2016. However, there’s a significant change in the tax rate, which will triple from $0.14 to $0.45 per $1,000 in assessed property value. For the owner of a median-value Seattle home, this translates to an estimated annual cost of $383, about $260 more per year than the expiring levy.

The impact of this levy is substantial. More than $700 million will be channeled into building and preserving approximately 3,500 units of affordable housing over seven years. An additional $30 million will be designated for short-term rental assistance and homelessness prevention, potentially assisting around 4,500 individuals. Furthermore, $50 million will be dedicated to supporting individuals in becoming homeowners through affordable home construction and down payment assistance, while $122 million is earmarked for permanent supportive housing. Overall, the levy could positively impact around 9,000 people, as estimated by city officials.

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.”

KOMO 4: Habitat for Humanity’s La Fortuna Development Dedication

Watch the Video: Celebrating a Milestone

Relive a heartwarming moment of celebration and community unity as KOMO 4 looks back on the unforgettable dedication event of Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King and Kittitas Counties’ La Fortuna development. In this clip, the spirit of compassion and transformation comes alive as families, volunteers, and supporters gather to mark a significant milestone in the journey of creating safe and secure homes for those in need.

A Day of Joyful Unveiling

KOMO 4’s coverage encapsulates the vibrant atmosphere of the dedication event, where excitement and gratitude fill the air. Families, who have eagerly awaited this moment, stand side by side with volunteers who have dedicated their time and effort to bring these dreams to life. Against the backdrop of the La Fortuna development, the scene is set for an inspiring celebration of resilience and collaboration.

Impact in Every Frame

It’s evident that the La Fortuna development isn’t just about houses; it’s about homes that radiate warmth, security, and belonging. The expressions of families as they receive the keys to their new homes – a symbol of a brighter future and the beginning of a new chapter. The joy in their eyes reflects the incredible impact that Habitat for Humanity brings to their lives.

Join the Celebration

Whether you were part of the dedication event or are experiencing it through this video, the invitation remains the same – be a part of this incredible journey of transformation. By watching, sharing, and supporting Habitat for Humanity, you become a vital contributor to the cycle of change that empowers families and uplifts communities.

Relive the Moment: Watch the Video

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.