Last December, two local families spent their first Christmas and brought in the New Year in their new Habitat homes — homes that hold promise of a new beginning and secure future.
Originally from Burma, the families came to the United States through the World Relief Refugee program with the hopes of a safer life for their families. The road to this point has been difficult, sometimes frightening and very foreign.
Since being placed in the Tri-Cities, they have spent a number of years in inadequate housing for their families of five and seven. The living spaces were small, the conditions poor.
This is a reality for many families in our community. With high housing costs and low-wage work, the dream of “getting ahead,” let alone home ownership, seems impossible. The families we partner with are hard-working and responsible, but trapped in substandard living conditions: overcrowding, mold, pest infestations, faulty electrical, poor weatherization and more.
Habitat for Humanity exists to meet this very real need for families.
Since 1994, and with the help of many volunteers, donors, churches, businesses and more in this community, Habitat has built nearly 100 new homes for families.
In January, the walls started going up on four homes in Pasco — the first in a 24-home development, the Whitehouse Addition. This is a big deal — 24 homes means 24 families contributing to their community. Dozens of children with space to play, complete their homework and invite friends over.
What’s more, each of these homes are being built in intentional partnership with many sectors of this community.
$3.4 million pricetag on 24 homes in Whitehouse Addition
48,000 volunteer hours will be required
3 years needed to complete housing development
The “Coug House” is one of the homes in progress, which is being built in partnership with Washington State University Tri-Cities. Construction on this home started in January. Volunteers consist of students, alumni and staff.
The Construction Trades class at Tri-Tech High School, under the direction of Tony Milewski, is building two more homes. The houses are estimated to be completed this spring.
The fourth house under construction is the “Thrivent House,” which is being built through Habitat’s first ever Apostles Build in partnership with Thrivent Financial. Twelve churches have committed to build this home together and serve the family. The home is set to be completed in July.
Habitat is still looking for volunteers and sponsors for the Whitehouse Addition project. Each home costs about $96,000, requires approximately 250 volunteers and 2,000 volunteer hours to build. To complete 24 homes, it will take $3.4 million, 48,000 volunteer hours and three years.
Habitat plans to build eight homes a year during the course of three years while also serving in other parts of the Tri-County area, including Connell and Walla Walla.
The Whitehouse Addition is a new kind of endeavor for us. It means the opportunity for partnership with the entire community to make an impact like never before.
With decent housing, families thrive as they are freed from the worry and stress of unaffordable and unacceptable living conditions.
Decent, stable housing provides financial security and stability for families and children. Families develop a sense of dignity and pride, as they now have a place to call home. They are empowered to contribute to their community. They are en route to success in their Habitat home.