Local chapter of Evergreen Habitat for Humanity works with Evergreen High School students to build a new home in Vancouver
Anybody, regardless of gender, can learn the tools of the construction trade. Evergreen Habitat for Humanity (EHFH) hammered that message home during International Women’s Build Week.
“It’s a week to empower women to get into building, because it’s obviously a male dominated industry,” said EHFH Construction Manager Courtney Patterson. “Women can build, just like anyone else. We’re teaching women building skills they can apply to their own homes.”
EHFH celebrates its 30th birthday in Clark County this year. On Thursday, three members from the organization took people on a Facebook Live virtual tour of a 1,100-square foot future home in Vancouver.
The house was built in partnership with Evergreen Public Schools and Lowe’s Home Improvement. Students taking a Geometry in Construction course at Evergreen High School learned equations in the classroom and how to apply those geometry skills to build a house.
Although the process took a few years, and was slowed down by the pandemic, the exterior of the house was transported to its foundation in January. Patterson said interior work will begin within the next week or two with a goal of handing the keys over to a local family of three by early summer.
“It’s nice to finally see the house out here and kind of see the end in sight,” Patterson said.
The layout of the house features an open concept with the living transitioning into the kitchen. There are also three bedrooms and two bathrooms, which should give the homeowners’ teenage daughter her own space.
“I don’t know about you, but having an extra room would have been amazing during COVID,” said EHFH Construction Site Coordinator Jess Reynolds. “I have learned that working from home as well as having a kid at home, there is not enough space in the house if you don’t have an extra room dedicated to an office, studies or hobbies.”
The new homeowners are putting 500 sweat equity hours into this project. Although most of those hours have gone toward working on other local Habitat homes, they are excited to put the remaining time into their own.
“I know this family is excited to get in here and start working on their new home, and they’re definitely excited for the stability,” Patterson said. “Just being able to have a home they can call their own and not have to worry about renting or where they’re going to live next.”
“That’s our hope for all our families,” Reynolds said. “We like to say this is a ‘hand up’ not a ‘hand out.’ We hope this provides them with tools and stability so they can do things they were unable to do before financially.”
Although their daughter is not old enough to use power tools, she can still help her parents by painting, moving furniture and hanging decorations.
“It will be good for her to be able to help make this her home,” Reynolds said.
Grants and Development Manager Leanna Fabian attributes the history of Women’s Build Week to the first Habitat for Humanity home built by women in 1992.
“It all started with a group of women in North Carolina who came together and said ‘we can actually do this on our own,’” Fabian said. “Since then, it has grown. Today, there are about 300 Habitat affiliates around the globe who participate in Women’s Build Week every year.”
Fabian estimates Evergreen Habitat for Humanity is in the neighborhood for 50 houses built during their time in Clark County. This includes subdivisions with multiple homes. Fabian said it would not be possible without volunteers and the $5,000 donations from Lowe’s, as part of their partnership.
“We welcome anybody who wants to come building with us. Even if they have never swung a hammer before, Jess and Courtney will teach them how to do whatever they’re working on,” Fabian said. “It’s a great way to meet people and learn how to build something you have always dreamed of for your own home. And, you get to make a difference in someone else’s life. This is going to be their home.”