Repairs done by Habitat for Humanity help keep people in their homes

SEATTLE — Habitat for Humanity Seattle—King & Kittitas Counties is heading into one of its largest fundraising weeks with its “Beyond the Build luncheon” — sponsored by KIRO 7 — coming up next week.

The group has hit some major milestones this year. KIRO 7 reporter Ranji Sinha spoke with Debbie Waters, who said the group’s work isn’t just about building from the ground up, it’s also working to keep people in their homes.

“I didn’t realize that they did the repair work,” said Waters, who said she had lived with a rickety staircase for years.

“I would have still been walking up those wobbly steps hanging on and grabbing the screen door to pull myself the rest of the way up,” she said.

Just getting into Waters’ home was dangerous until Habitat gave her a safer option.

“It meant so much to have this done! They put up another handrail so that when I go up there, I’ve got two to hold onto,” said Waters.

Late last year, Habitat for Humanity built her new stairs to her front door and even repaired old wheelchair ramps, making her home more livable.

Waters said Habitat may be known for building homes from the ground up, but repairing homes is just as important.


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This year, Habitat for Humanity Seattle—King & Kittitas Counties received a windfall, with a massive $7.5 million donation from MacKenzie Scott. Habitat for Humanity International and 84 U.S. Habitat affiliate organizations received $436 million from the philanthropist.

HHSKK hopes to raise even more funds during its Beyond the Build event on June 2.

“I think the emphasis on affordable housing and also the idea of aging in place are two incredibly important things,” said Jessica Bruder, author of “Nomadland.”

Bruder is the keynote speaker at this year’s events for HHSKK. Her 2017 nonfiction novel was turned into an Academy Award-winning film that looked at older Americans who adopted nomadic lifestyles for work.

She said many people she met on the road were priced out of homes and believes Habitat can help many of them.

“I’ve always found it really cool that Habitat has discounted home improvement stores — just thinking about all the things like maintenance — what it takes to not just get a home but stay in one and thrive in one,” said Bruder.

HHSKK estimates that Scott’s donation will allow for a lot more building and repairing, as Waters experienced. The retiree said she couldn’t afford to pay for the work herself and hopes people will donate to Habitat as a small step to help keep people in their homes, along with building new ones.

“When it’s done, you know it’s done well,” said Waters. “I can walk up and walk into my home and I know it’s safe.”