Habitatwill build more homes if they get more land

Published on Thu, Apr 8, 2004 by ack Kintner

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Habitat will build more homes if they get more land

By Jack Kintner

Terry Mattson wants more land. The executive director for Whatcom County Habitat for Humanity has just dedicated his second project in Blaine and says he could do more if only he could find building lots.
As it is, he’s organizing volunteers into a two-day “blitz build” to complete the roof and exterior walls of the 1,000 square foot three-bedroom house located at 702 E Street. Set for the end of next week, Friday and Saturday March 16 and 17, Mattson said the goal is to have a “lockable exterior” by the end of the two days.

“We’ll need 30 or more volunteers each day,” Mattson said, “who can bring their own tools, simple hand tools like hammers, carpenter’s levels, their own tool belts, that sort of thing.” Volunteers must be at least 18-years-old, he emphasized.

At dedication ceremonies last Saturday, volunteers Lee Phipps, Tim Crandall and Peter Burkland raised a big Habitat for Humanity sign in what will become, by next August, Cassi Jordan and her family’s front yard. Jordan, a single mom with three school age kids, will commute to her job in Bellingham obstetrician Doug Madsen’s office. Daughters Mackenzie (sixth grade) and basketball player Kelsey (sophomore) and son Michael (eighth grade) will enter Blaine schools in the fall.

Originally from Yakima, Jordan said that the new house represents a “new beginning for the four of us, a chance to build our own equity.” During the building phase, expected to take another four to five months, Jordan and her family will contribute 500 hours of their own sweat equity in helping build the project house.

Jordan applied to Habitat for Humanity after waiting for a grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. “It seemed to me like it was taking a long time,” she said, “so I talked to the people at Habitat last August and applied for a house.”

After a home visit last February, the Habitat for Humanity office called to let her know that she’d qualified for their next Blaine project. A groundbreaking and dedication ceremony was held last Saturday at the site led by pastor Ken Martin of North Bay Christ the King Church.

“People are chosen by a family selection committee,” said Mattson, “and must first qualify by having an income that’s between 25 percent and 50 percent of the mean income for all of Whatcom County.” Mattson estimated the mean income right now to be “about $48,000 per year.”

“Choices the committee makes are based on meeting the income criteria and on other factors such as paying high rent and on family need,” Mattson continued, “and we’ll meet again in June.” Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County builds three houses a year, and has built 17 since its founding in October of 1988.

“There are many contractors and individuals who volunteer time and materials for us,” Mattson said, “but one thing we really need is more building lots.” As a non-profit organization, Mattson said his agency can accept donated land or land sold on a bargain-sale basis.

Jordan’s house is Blaine’s second Habitat for Humanity project. The first was completed last year at 940 Cedar Street. For sign-up information on Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County call 715-9170.or see www.hfhwhatcom.org.