Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East’s Summer Block Party was a great success!
On July 18, future Habitat homeowners, volunteers, staff, neighbors and community members celebrated the launch and construction progress on the first phase of 45 homes at our SE 171st and Division Street neighborhood! Party patrons rocked out to live music from local group Suburban Legend and munched on delicious BBQ provided by NW Natural.
The event kicked off with Portland Commissioner Nick Fish addressing the crowd, sharing the need for affordable homeownership in the Portland area and how Habitat is part of the solution to the housing crisis.
Habitat for Humanity International Board of Directors Chair Liz Crossman traveled from her home in southern Oregon to spend the day swinging a hammer and building alongside other Habitat partners, as well as speaking about Habitat’s program and how it impacts our community. The party wrapped up just as the sun began to set, the first of many celebrations for Habitat’s new community!
Glenn Waller was a man who valued giving back to the community. So it made sense that he left his daughter, Mary Waller Bullard, and two sons individual charitable trust accounts when he passed away, wanting his children to have the opportunity to give back to the community, too. Mary thought hard about what she wanted to do with her account, determined to do something that represented her father’s values, instead of just writing a check to an organization.
“I wanted to do something that fully embodied what my dad stood for, that would honor his memory, something that I know he would be proud of,” said Mary. “I realized that a lot of what I have in my life was because of him, and I wanted to honor him, passing it along.
In 2005 Mary and her husband were in the market to buy their first home. However, the market was hot, making even fixers hard to afford. Glenn suggested they buy a fixer and in turn he would help them with the rehab, allowing his daughter and son in-law to experience the dream of homeownership. Mary, her husband and father spent six months rehabbing the house, with Glenn guiding and teaching them skills along the way. It turned out to be a good investment and a couple years later Mary and her husband decided to take the skills her father had taught them and rehab housing for investment purposes.
So when Mary received the trust, it made sense to reach out to Habitat and use the funds and her skills learned from her father to rehab a home for a local family in need.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with the Mahmood family, who will be purchasing the home,” said Mary. “They are a really sweet family, and the children who are young adults are really eager. I admire them for their dedication to their parents.”
To Mary, home is a refuge, a place where you can relax, enjoy your family and friends and make memories. And thanks to her generosity and values instilled by her father, now another family will have the chance to own a safe and healthy home.
“I hope the Mahmood’s feel welcomed by the community, and that it will provide long-term stability and really feel like home.”
It takes a special kind of person to make plans for the benefit of unknown people in the unknowable future, and the Habitat for Humanity Legacy Society was designed to recognize these forward-thinking friends. For more information on how you can leave a legacy with Habitat for Humanity contact Erika Read at 503.287.9529 x16.
The project is located at 420 SE 106th Avenue, a centrally located site that had practical appeal to many prospective Habitat home buyers. There is great access not only to Max and TriMet, but also Multnomah County Library’s beautiful new Midland Branch, and the East Portland Community Center with its fabulous indoor pool/water park, popular on rainy Saturdays. In addition, families will be able to easily access everyday needs with plenty of nearby options for groceries, shopping, health and other services.
Despite this hive of activity, the street is low-key and quiet, ideal for families. Habitat kids will undoubtedly be overjoyed to take advantage of the nearly 50 acres of parks located within a mile of the parcel, including soccer and softball fields, playgrounds, picnic tables, a dog park, a water feature for hot summer days and a community garden. With four schools located within a mile of their future homes (one just four blocks away), some Habitat kids may choose to walk or bike to school.
Future Habitat homeowners will continue to benefit from the fact that Orchards lies in or near to the Gateway Urban Renewal Area, Gateway Regional Center plan area, and other planning and project areas. For example, as part of the City’s East Portland Parks Initiative, nearby parks are slated for new playground equipment, a bike skills area and new plantings in 2012. Across departments, the City has also firmly established a vision of a dense, pedestrian friendly environment, and plans to create village centers to complement existing big box retail.
Already this spring, eight qualified families were selected into the home-ownership program and matched with the Orchards site. These families share the familiar Habitat story: they are hardworking people employed as housekeepers, janitors, home health care providers, and cooks, earning an average family income of $30,221 per year. Six families are headed by single parents, and six are families of color. Two families will leave behind severely substandard homes, including one living in a moldy mobile home that is literally falling apart around them. Two families include elder family members, and one a disabled family member in need of an ADA accessible home. Habitat is proud to have outreached and identified four families that already live in the area and won’t need to change schools, thus eliminating academic and social disruption for children.
Look for more information on these compelling and highly motivated families – and how the work progresses at Orchards – in the months to come. If the Orchards build excites you, please note that we are still looking for home sponsors, in-kind partners, and Team Builders, and will welcome site volunteers starting in August 2012.
Ten well-qualified, very grateful families will buy these homes with a 0%-interest mortgage in August 2013. Please join us in making the dream of home-ownership come true for ten more Habitat families!