Habitat for Humanity raises the roof on major milestone

Posted 8/3/20

After building 50 houses in the past 22 years, Habitat for Humanity in East Jefferson County has seen a lot of elated new homeowners. 

Even so, the feeling of satisfaction when watching a …

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Habitat for Humanity raises the roof on major milestone

Posted

After building 50 houses in the past 22 years, Habitat for Humanity in East Jefferson County has seen a lot of elated new homeowners. 

Even so, the feeling of satisfaction when watching a mother and daughter beam at a camera on the front steps of their new house is something that just can’t get old.

Despite unexpected delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ingrid Jonland and her 10-year-old daughter, Olivia, have moved into their new home, built and sponsored by community volunteers from Habitat for Humanity. 

“What has astonished me is how willing this community is to pitch in on so many levels to make this happen,” said Habitat executive director Jamie Maciejewski.
“There’s no way we would have gotten to 50 houses if this community didn’t want it and didn’t invest in it with their time and their money.”

During the pandemic, having a space like this is especially important. It gives the two a place to call home during a time when a home has become an office, classroom, playground, and much more. This one comes with an affordable mortgage, based on income.

A FRESH START

Jonland works in a local restaurant but was struggling to find an affordable place to live. Born and raised in the area, she wanted to stay and raise her daughter here.

The new home will also provide the first opportunity for Olivia to have her own bedroom not shared with Jonland, something she has been looking forward to.

Kids thrive in owned homes, said Maciejewski, who has seen notably high graduation rates of kids who lived in Habitat housing.

In other cases, the new home allows parents to shift their thoughts from concern over rent to their own next steps in life, and Maciejewski has seen adults return to school or shift their careers with the newfound freedom.

HALTED PRODUCTION

It takes about 1,200 manhours to build a Habitat for Humanity home, Maciejewski said. Jonland personally invested more than 250 to help build the house, joining volunteers from across the community who came out to help.

The project began in spring 2019, expected to be finished in about a year. As the date came closer, the plan was to welcome new owners by March 2020. The project was in its final stages, just waiting on some interior finishing, flooring, counters, and the last of the plumbing, Maciejewski said.

When the pandemic hit and Gov. Jay Inslee ordered the ceasing of commercial and residential construction March 25, the project came to an abrupt halt.

As construction was phased back into place, Habitat placed three staff members on the project, but couldn’t have the typical volunteer workers for two months. The project was kept afloat by donors, especially Elizabeth Weaver and John W. Weaver, who sponsored this house as they have two times before.

“These volunteers and donors are making affordable housing possible for local service workers and families,” Maciejewski said.

BUILDING A FUTURE

The Habitat for Humanity of East Jefferson County will be launching a new strategic plan soon that will allow for expansion and expediting.

“We’re going to get to the next 50 a lot faster than we got the first 50,” Maciejewski said.

In a normal year, Habitat for Humanity builds five houses annually in
Port Townsend, Irondale, and Port Hadlock. The group hopes to complete the 51st house by the end of summer.

More information about the group and a video of Jonland and Olivia are available at www.habitatejc.org.

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