Dream of home ownership comes through for area family

Forest products industry, Evergreen Habitat for Humanity partner to build a home

VANCOUVER — The American Forest Resource Council (AFRC) and the Evergreen Habitat for Humanity recently announced a partnership in Vancouver, WA to build a home for a deserving family in the McKibbin Commons neighborhood.

An affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, Evergreen Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to the principle that everyone in our community deserves a safe, decent, and affordable place to live.

Brangmai Hpauyam and his wife, Merry, have been building their lives in Vancouver for five years. Photo courtesy of Evergreen Habitat for Humanity
Brangmai Hpauyam and his wife, Merry, have been building their lives in Vancouver for five years. Photo courtesy of Evergreen Habitat for Humanity

“We are so grateful for this partnership with AFRC. Every day, we see firsthand the critical role decent housing plays in creating positive outcomes in people’s lives and in communities,” says Josh Townsley, executive director of Evergreen Habitat for Humanity. “We are honored to partner with AFRC and see their dedication to our work because they believe in a world where everyone has a decent place to live. We look forward to working together to build a safe and secure place for the Hpauyam family to grow, be healthy, and thrive.”

The home will complete the 10-home McKibbin Commons neighborhood, where all homes were built by Habitat and corresponding partners. For this final home, Evergreen Habitat partnered with the AFRC, a nonprofit trade association based out of Portland. AFRC represents local businesses that manufacture renewable, carbon friendly, affordable wood products throughout the Pacific Northwest.  AFRC and its members provided locally manufactured lumber and wood products, cash donations, and will volunteer during “Build Days” to help construct a permanent home for the Hpauyam Family.

“This is a powerful and exciting partnership that shows how local forest products businesses make safe, affordable housing possible,” said Travis Joseph, AFRC president.  “Our vision is simple: let’s get to work restoring the health of our at-risk national forests, convert hazardous fuels and wood into lumber and other sustainable wood products, and utilize carbon-friendly material to help solve environmental and social challenges like climate change and the housing crisis.  We’re part of the solution – and we could not be more honored or thrilled to apply our vision and passion to build a home for the Hpauyam family.”

Brangmai Hpauyam and his wife, Merry, have been building their lives in Vancouver for five years. They are from Myanmar and were relocated through the Refugee Resettlement Program, a highly selective federal program to help individuals and families who are unable to return to their home countries because of persecution based on his or her race, religion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group.  Participants in this program are subject to intensive security checks and screening interviews before they are authorized to enter the United States.

In partnership with Evergreen Habitat, the Hpauyam Family will complete 500 hours of volunteer “sweat equity” including helping with the construction of other Habitat homes at McKibbin Commons, homeowner education courses, and building their own home. Once the requirements have been completed, the Hpauyam Family will purchase their home with an affordable Habitat mortgage that sets the monthly mortgage payment at no more than 30 percent of their combined income at the time of sale.

For those Interested in getting involved, AFRC provides updates, pictures, videos, and volunteer opportunities on its Facebook and Instagram pages.   

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