Habitat Repairs Support The Spirit of Giving

“The world would be so much better if we all would just take care of one another, and you folks have taken care of me.” That’s what Alesia Cannady has to say about the repairs Habitat for Humanity SKKC volunteers completed on her Skyway home last year. 

Alesia practices what she preaches. She is the founder and Executive Director of Women United Seattle, a group that supports grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren. The organization’s multiple programs reflect Alesia’s creative approach to helping others. Alesia started her work nearly 30 years ago when she discovered a neighbor in need: a mother of two recently abandoned by her husband. “She didn’t have anything,” Alesia recalls, “so I took my boys’ bunk beds to her, an extra mattress I had, so she’d have a bed, and a little TV, so her kids would have something to do.” That was what she calls her first ‘woman in crisis,’ and the ad-hoc beginning of Women United Seattle.

At first, she used her own money to help women pay rent in emergencies. She took in and raised her sister’s newborn daughter and seven-year-old sister. From that experience she learned the challenges of single parenting for a second time after raising her two sons. When her youngest son and his drug addicted girlfriend got pregnant, Alesia was called upon again to raise a child, her granddaughter,Aleiyah. “That opened a door for me,” says Alesia, “though I didn’t realize it at the time.” Aleiyah became the inspiration for the Angel of Hope Engagement Center, hosted in Alesia’s home, where grandmothers now come for personal, and spiritual support, programs and events. Alesia continues to expand the program with help from King County, Seattle Foundation, Champions of change and generous donors. 

When a friend learned that Alesia’s railings and entrance were unsafe for the mobility-impaired women visiting the Engagement Center, she contacted Habitat, and, “They called me right away,” Alesia says with glee. She is delighted at the quality of the improvements Habitat volunteers made to her front and back entrances and the access areas up to a gathering cottage in her backyard. Of course, she befriended the volunteers. “They smelled the catfish I was cooking one day and came inside to share it. After that they came back to help me set up the Winter Wonderland event in my backyard … and they stayed.” She now claims those Habitat volunteers as part of her family.

The repairs Habitat made to Alesia’s house were finished quickly and, she adds, the volunteers took extra care to assure the paint matched her house, so the entry is beautiful as well as strong. The work Habitat did on Alesia Cannady’s home isn’t confined to that place. The benefits will radiate throughout her community as her work impacts multiple families. “We must keep sharing our knowledge with others who’ll be caregivers, even after our grandchildren are grown, so there will always be people here to help one another.” To learn more about Habitat SKKC’s Repairs program or if you know someone who is in need of critical home repairs, please visit: http://www.habitatskc.org/what-we-do/home-repairs/

Sightline: Habitat for Humanity goes all in for multifamily housing

According to Ryan Donohue, there is only one way to solve the shortage of affordable homes in Washington: widescale zoning reform that legalizes multifamily housing without onerous parking mandates, and an influx of public funding to match.  

“If we don’t solve both of these problems, we will never be able to solve the housing crisis,” explained Donohue, the Chief Advocacy Officer for Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties (“Habitat SKKC”), Washington’s largest Habitat for Humanity chapter.  

All across Washington state, people need more homes of all kinds. One million more, the Department of Commerce estimated, by 2044. But local exclusionary zoning laws adopted by city and county governments between 1920 and 1980 have restricted homebuilders’ ability to meet demand. Bans on apartment buildings, townhomes, and duplexes, combined with costly parking mandates, have contributed to Washington having the fifth worst undersupply of housing in the United States.  

Visit the link to read the full story.

Total joy rained on the Capitol View community dedication

Rain did nothing to dampen the joy on Saturday, March 4, when 11 families received the keys to their new homes in Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County’s new Capitol View Community, its first mid-rise building of affordable housing unites completed in Seattle. The Dedication, covered by three of Seattle’s TV news stations (KIRO7, KOMO4 and KING5), paid tribute to former president Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn for making Habitat for Humanity a household name synonymous with affordable housing for all.

As Carter (98) spends his final days in hospice at home, Habitat SKKC’s CEO Brett D’Antonio declared that every Habitat home constructed in Seattle is done so with the Carter spirit built in. The spirit of Saturday’s Dedication was that of total joy as new homeowners accepted their keys, got to know their neighbors, and cut the red ribbon that marked the building’s official opening.

The Capital View building provides 13 new homes on a small footprint, using already improved land and sustainable materials. In fact, the development earned a four-star Built Green certification by using locally sourced materials with recycled content, low VOC interior paints and flooring, and by focusing on energy efficiency. The homes are close to transit, within walking distance of shops and schools.

Eleven of the 13 homes are already sold to community members earning less than 80% of the area’s Average Median Income (AMI). Five of the new homes were specifically earmarked for people of color, in keeping with Habitat’s commitment to support minority homeownership in King and Kittitas Counties.

New homeowner and speaker at the event Amber Cortes exuded excitement as she thanked Habitat saying, “It really does take a village to build a home.” She referred to the Habitat process that partners with potential homeowners in constructing new affordable housing by counting their sweat equity contributions as part of their purchase price.  It’s a system that has worked to make Habitat for Humanity one of the most successful and revered non-profit organizations in the world. 

The Capitol View Community is the first in Habitat SKC’s plans to address Seattle’s extreme housing crisis by ‘building up.’ One similar condo project called Olympic Ridge is already under construction nearby along with a much larger condominium development to begin construction very soon on MLK Blvd which will offer 58 permanently affordable condo units.

CEO Brett D’Antonio credited recently enacted housing density legislation for making the Capitol Hill project possible,  “Density flexibility allows  Habitat to provide these permanently affordable condominium homes that can begin to mitigate the impact of  inflated construction costs, spikes in home prices, and gentrification.”

City elected officials, including Deputy Mayor Gary Wong, Deputy Director Seattle Office of Housing Andrea Akita, joined the jubilant celebration while Homeowner Services Director Ali Sheibani and Program Coordinator Nat Tavarez introduced the new Homeowners and presented them with the keys and a housewarming gift.

Check out photos from the event on our Flickr page here. To watch some of the local news coverage click KING5 and KIRO.

Capitol Hill Seattle Blog: Habitat for Humanity just opened its first affordable condo building on Capitol Hill

Habitat for Humanity has brought its philosophies around equality — and sweat equity — in home ownership to 11th Ave E between Harrison and Republican on Capitol Hill.

Over the weekend, it celebrated the completion of the Capitol View Community building along with the new condo owners who will call the development home.

“My best friend used to live down the street from here near the park,” new owner Amber Cortes said at Saturday’s ceremony. “And she said when she first lived here 10 years ago, there were all sorts of people in the building — an opera singer, a landscaper, a pastry chef. And over the years, rent went up, housing cost went up, and people started moving out.”

Click the link to read the full story.

Kiro 7: Habitat for Humanity completes first mid-rise building in Seattle

For Amber Cortes, the chance to own her own home is a game-changer.

She is one of 13 new homeowners making 80% or less of the area median income that will live in a new building in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood constructed by Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King and Kittitas Counties.

“Habitat helped us; we will be helping others; Habitat is helped by you,” said Cortes. “We all have to be in this together for everybody to have a seat at the table and a home of their own.”

Visit the link to watch the full Kiro 7 report.