Kittitas County Recognizes Habitat for Humanity as Nonprofit Agency of the Year
By Cris Ellingson
During the last 20 years, Habitat for Humanity has completed work on 15 homes throughout Cle Elum, Ellensburg and Kittitas. That means 15 families now have a place to call home. That is one of the reasons Habitat for Humanity has been recognized as Kittitas Chamber of Commerce’s Nonprofit of the Year for 2014.
“I knew accepting the award that it was because of all the wonderful donors, volunteers, staff, board members and partner families over the last 20 years, and felt really honored to accept it on their behalf,” says Habitat for Humanity’s Executive Director Sherri Ott. “We are very fortunate to be able to do what we do.”
The organization has no plans to slow down.
“We have two house starts scheduled to begin in January and are looking for volunteers,” says Sherri. “Additionally, we have our critical home repair that we started here in Kittitas County last year.”
Sherri credits the nonprofit’s success to its wonderful volunteers, staff and board members – “a quirky bunch” with their own eccentricities, she says.
Habitat for Humanity’s next two homes will be in rural Cle Elum’s Sunlight Waters on property Bank of America made available through Habitat for Humanity International. More than 60 homes were destroyed in that area in the 2012 Taylor Bridge fire. A previous dwelling on the property was considered for restoration through the program, but the costs for repairs and fire retardant removal were too high. Now, two homes will be built on the property.
“It’s a whole feel-good system,” Sherri says of the two home builds.
“We have regular skilled tradespeople on site Saturday training volunteers. The community blends together when students, partner families, company work groups and others join together to learn and help build, as well as share in helping others and celebrating success. It’s exciting to watch as the volunteers are blessed in their efforts, where they in turn gain new skills, meet friends and are able to also interact with the partner families. We really see many people come together, mixing generations and different community groups – including some international students – in a concerted effort to help others.”
One group benefiting from the ongoing projects is the Brechbiel family. Mother of two Spring Brechbiel, a Navy veteran, will now have a place to call home in Cle Elum. She can offer a little more stability to her children, Alexandria, a high school student, and Beau, who requires lifelong medical treatment for a disability.
Sherri reflects fondly on previous families who have benefited from Habitat for Humanity’s programs.
During her tenure, she has seen home partners living with blindness able to find a new purpose. She has witnessed others struggling with cancer and now having a place to call home, where they can recuperate.
“These people are not just partner families, but become a part of our own families as we work together, learn more about one another and celebrate successes, she says. “We are all truly blessed by the builds and our work.”
Excerpt from article Published in Kittitas PUD Ruralite
Habitat for Humanity partnership helps Tacoma Power conduct research
People living in a local Habitat for Humanity community are helping Tacoma Power with research that could help you save money on your electric bills.
When Habitat for Humanity of Pierce County builds a new home in The Woods at Golden Given, the home gets both a ductless heat pump and baseboard heat in the main living areas. The two heating systems alternate weekly to help Tacoma Power determine the differences in energy use and how that impacts homeowners’ wallets. Early results from 10 homes show a savings of 3,000 to 4,000 kilowatt-hours a year, which translates into about $230 to $300 in annual electric savings.
The study will help determine if the electric industry should pursue changes to the state energy code. The utility will monitor 30 homes for at least one year before the study ends in 2017. Habitat homeowners will get to choose which heating system they want to keep after the study. Published in Tacoma Public Utilities “U” Newsletter