Habitat breaks ground on 49th, 50th homes in county

Posted 5/1/19

Two working women who have helped build homes for others in Port Townsend and Port Hadlock were presented with the foundations to their own homes by Habitat For Humanity of East Jefferson County April 27.

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Habitat breaks ground on 49th, 50th homes in county

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Two working women who have helped build homes for others in Port Townsend and Port Hadlock were presented with the foundations to their own homes by Habitat For Humanity of East Jefferson County April 27.

Just west of the Port Townsend city limits on Cliff Street, Marta Asmussen and Ingrid Jonland received blessings for their homes-to-be, as they ceremonially broke ground on Habitat’s 49th and 50th homes in east county.

Jamie Maciejewski, executive director of Habitat For Humanity of East Jefferson County, noted that Jonland’s sponsors, John and Beth Weaver, were still alive to appreciate the celebration, while Asmussen’s sponsor, Paul Anderson, had recently passed away.

Elder James Springgate of the Lighthouse Baptist Church was able to bless Asmussen’s home and offer some insights as her next-door neighbor.

“We have dinner together six or seven days out of the week,” Springgate laughed, “and she raises four well-behaved children,” even as he noted those “children” are technically dogs.

Springgate quoted the Bible in asserting the importance of building on rock rather than sand, and described the foundations of Asmussen and Jonland’s new homes as “solid.”

Dr. Kimber Rotchford, of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, used his blessing of Jonland’s home to reflect on how rituals “remind us of what’s important,” so that we might give thanks.

“It took a lot of work to get to this point,” Rotchford said. “Like farmers, we break ground. The land itself has an intrinsic beauty, and is already blessed. By doing this, we represent the best of what a community should be about, which is meeting to help each other in times of need.”

Jonland was joined by her 9-year-old daughter, Olivia, and deemed her new Habitat home to be her only option for housing in East Jefferson County.

“I’ve been unable to find an affordable place to own, or even rent,” said Jonland, who works in the restaurant industry. “I was starting to think I might have to move elsewhere, but I was born and raised in this area, and I want to stay here.”

Ingrid and Olivia are looking forward to having their own space, for their athletic and creative endeavors. Olivia is especially excited to have her own room, so much so that she’s already begun planning decorations and for visits from her friends.

Asmussen and her dogs will live next door to the Jonlands, and she looks forward to the stability that a home will bring.

“I’m a professional woman, but still, I could not afford my own home,” said Asmussen, who works in medical billing. “I came from Guatemala, and not only am I happy to be in America and become a citizen, but I also feel blessed to live in such a beautiful town. The people here take care of each other like family.”

Earlier this year, Asmussen traveled to Olympia with Habitat to meet local policy makers and share her story.

Joseph Bell, the construction manager for both homes, expects it will take another three or four months to finish the current slate of seven homes that Habitat has in various stages of completion, including three homes where the homeowners have already moved in. However, because those homes are largely being built with volunteer labor, he emphasized the variability of this timeline.

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