The first of two informational meetings for the Lewis County Habitat for Humanity’s selection process for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Chehalis took place at St. John’s Lutheran Church with several families — 15 persons in total — in attendance Saturday afternoon to hear more about the qualifications and to turn in applications.
By the end of the meeting, the organization had received less than ten applications total. However, President of Habitat’s Lewis County chapter Jay Myhre says they’ve received more applications at this point in the selection process than they did for their last house in 2016, which received ten applications total.
So, although the application numbers might seem low, Myhre feels that Habitat’s charitable work is starting to gain traction in Lewis County.
Through Habitat, a family will be able to pay off the house which they hope to have erected in nine months on an interest-free mortgage that, according to Habitat’s calculation, will cost a family less than $500 in monthly payments.
Tom and Liz Hicker, of Vader, came to the meeting on behalf of a Toledo couple who they know needs help. Tom had previously helped build a Habitat home in Spokane with his brother, and because of his previous experience with the organization, got the idea to attend the Lewis County chapter’s meeting.
Liz Hicker says her friend’s husband has Lyme diseases that developed into a heart condition which led to him being bedridden. The couple who the Hicker’s came on behalf of are older than 70 years old and live on a minimal income.
“We went through their house and it needs a lot of help,” she said. “She has three buckets catching water from the roof and when you go outside all the skirting around the house is decomposing. We have to realize there are a lot of rural people in Lewis County who do need help, especially the seniors. Some are homebound and are trying to make ends meet and they can’t.”
Another family, a woman with her mother and son from Winlock, who asked to not be named in this story, came to the meeting and have been actively looking to rent a new home for more than a year. Their current living situation, which consists of the woman, her mother and the woman’s seven children under the same roof, is falling apart in every conceivable way, she said.
She has come up empty-handed in her search for a new home on account of the houses being too expensive or landlords having restrictions on the number of occupants in the house, essentially excluding her from any housing in her price range.
She had first heard of Habitat by attending one of their informational meetings for a house they built in 2016, but she says she didn’t follow through on the application. That was roughly five years ago, and her living situation has only gotten worse, and the demands of being the mother of nine kids, seven of which live with her now, even higher.
Mhyre knows more than just one family is in need of Habitat’s services and he reiterates that although the wheels are in motion for this particular Habitat house, they are always looking for donations to get their next house lined up. Donations could be property, a vehicle, money — anything that will help Habitat build a quality home for its next inhabitant.
If interested in donating, visit their website: glchabitat.org/donate
Habitat’s next informational meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Feb. 21, at St. John’s Lutheran Church at 2190 Jackson Highway in Chehalis. Families who cannot attend the last meeting in person are encouraged to leave their name and number with Habitat at 360-736-7158.
Spanish-speaking applicants who would need an interpreter should also call the number above.