News Archive

Volunteers Needed for Playground Build Day on July 26

Construction on the final four homes at SE 171st and Division Street is approaching completion in August. As a finishing touch for this vibrant 45-community, a playspace will be built on Saturday, July 26, in partnership with KaBOOM!, a nonprofit that is dedicated to ensuring all kids get a childhood filled with balanced and active play.

The helping hands of over 50 volunteers is needed and Habitat invites you to help build it!

Sign up here to help build a playground in partnership with Habitat and KaBOOM! on July 26!

Bank of America Student Leaders Spend Summer at Habitat

Fevan Solomon and Ania Warren are young adults with success on their mind. While most of their peers spend the warm summer months taking a break from education, Fevan and Ania are giving back to their community while gaining valuable skills as Bank of America Student Leaders at Habitat.

Every year, each one of Bank of America’s 45 markets recognizes five high school juniors and seniors as Student Leaders for their passion and commitment to improve their communities. The Student Leadership Program allows each student to participate in an eight week long summer internship with a local nonprofit organization and a week long Student Leadership Summit in Washington D.C. This summer, two Student Leaders have been working with Habitat’s Portland/Metro East affiliate.

Meet Fevan

My name is Fevan Solomon and I’m the oldest child of Ethiopian refugees who came to the United States 22 years ago. I’m a rising senior at De La Salle North Catholic High School. I’m involved with several clubs at my school including Student Government, Student Delegates, Heritage, Constitutional Law club, Girls, Inc. and Lasallian Youth Ministry. I also volunteer at Cityteam, St. Francis Dining Hall, the Blanchet House, as well as Native American Youth and Family Center. I hopefully plan to Georgetown or Fordham University to study International Relations.

Meet Ania

I am Ania Warren. I recently graduated from Roosevelt High School and plan on attending Portland State University this fall. Being a Student Leader has opened up the door for me to meet new people and learn what it takes to help others in my community. I’m very glad to be able to use this internship as a learning experience before heading off to college!

Fevan and Ania will finish their summer internships with Habitat in the first few weeks of August. Habitat would like to congratulate them on becoming Student Leaders and thank them for their hard work!

Meyer Memorial Trust Funds Habitat’s New Initiative With $300,000 Grant

June 30, 2014 (Portland, Ore.) — Meyer Memorial Trust awarded Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East with $300,000, over two years, to help fund Habitat’s new Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative in northeast Portland’s Cully neighborhood.

The Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative is Habitat’s 5-year focus in Cully.  Through this initiative, Habitat has teamed up with Cully residents, Living Cully Coalition and City bureaus to build a shared vision of revitalization.

Habitat plans to complete 150 home repairs for low-income homeowners,  build 21 new homes that will be sold to low-income, first-time homeowners, and to develop a strategic affordable housing plan, so that low-income residents are not displaced as Cully becomes a more desirable place to live.

The Meyer Memorial Trust  funds will be used to build 21 new homes at Northeast 64th and Killingsworth Street, and provide much needed staffing to support the new, and quickly growing, home repair program.

“It is critical to have affordable housing in neighborhoods where low-income families and people of color are most at a risk of being involuntarily displaced,” said Doug Stamm, chief executive officer at Meyer Memorial Trust. “We are pleased to support Habitat’s housing work in the Cully neighborhood, and applaud their leadership in the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative.”

Cully is one of the largest neighborhoods in Portland, and is the most racially diverse in the state. One in four Cully residents lives in poverty.  9 out of 10 kids are on free or reduced lunch.  42% of Cully families are spending more than half of their income on housing.

The City of Portland just published a study that found Cully to be the neighborhood where low-income families and people of color are most at risk of being involuntarily displaced, because as the neighborhood improves, rents go up.

“Cully could be another story of a Portland neighborhood where low-income residents are forced out of their homes and east of I205,” said Steve Messinetti, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East. “We believe that together, we can create a thriving, prosperous Cully without displacement, by investing in the people and not just in buildings and infrastructure.”

Habitat has already completed 20 critical home repairs in Cully, and will break ground on the new home construction early, next year.

To learn more about the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, contact Danell Norby at or call 503-287-9529 x13.

Four Portland Homes Built in Two Weeks

Two weeks of intense construction came to a close on Friday, June 13, as local, professional builders finished four homes for hardworking families who became first-time homeowners in SE Portland. From May 28 to June 13, 2014, as part of Habitat for Humanity International’s effort to build 300 homes nationwide during Home Builders Blitz 2014, local builders Fish Construction NW, Neil Kelly, Noyes Development Co, Parr Lumber and Schumacher Custom Homes, constructed four homes in Southeast Portland alongside hundreds of professionals who donated their time, resources, expertise and building materials.

For these four families, which include a total of eight kids, purchasing their own homes means an end to poverty housing, and chasing affordable rents, finally living in a place that meets their needs and helps them thrive.

The Simino family, whose home was built by four-time Blitz builder Fish Construction NW, have spent most of their lives trying to help other people feel at home. As long-term missionaries for over 30 years, Robert and Alexis, along with their daughters, have lived and worked in South America, Mexico, Canada, and nine U.S. states.

“I’ve never owned a home before,” said Alexis Simino. “But I can’t even begin to tell you how much this means to daughters and their future. I can’t even remember the last time I had my own washer and dryer.”

In addition to the many hands that helped build these homes, Habitat would like to thank Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Portland Commissioner Nick Fish, Steve Thomas from This Old House, Larry Gluth, SVP, US & Canada, Habitat for Humanity International and all of the Home Dedication Ceremony guests that helped welcome these families to their new homes!

Home Builders
Fish Construction NW, Inc. & Parr Lumber

Hospitality Sponsor

Supporting Suppliers and Material Donors
52nd Avenue Hardware & Building Supply, Inc.
Adams Interiors Inc.
Advance M&D Sales
AllScope Plumbing
Ames Contracting Services
A-Team Flooring
Basco Appliances
Better Gutters
Bliss Roofing
Boise Cascade
Buffalo Wild Wings
Builder’s Appliance Supply Company
Central Air, Inc.
Chown Hardware
City of Portland
Clean It Up Mark!
Cleaning NW
Clearwater Properties, Inc.
CMT Surveying & Consulting
Community Financial Corporation
Country Air Custom Homes, LLC
Mark and Angela Crandall
Crescent Electric Supply Company
Crestwood, Inc.
Custom Stairworks
DML Construction
Earth Advantage
Ernie Jette Construction Co.
ESP Supply, Inc.
Everlast Homes, LLC
Fisher & Sons General Contractors
Forbo Flooring Systems
Aaralynn and Adah Frey
Gary’s Vacuflo
General Builders Supply, Inc.
Geoff & Jim Schumacher Landscaping
Globe Lighting
Great Northwest Gutters, LLC
H&H Shower & Glass
Home Certified, Inc.
Hunter Douglas
Vincent Huth
Irwin Tools
James Hardie
JB Insulation
JV Subfloor Specialists
KDL Enterprises, Inc.
Keller Supply Company
Sean Keys
Landscape East & West
Mackeson Construction, Inc.
Malarkey Roofing Products

Medallion Industries, Inc.
Milgard Windows & Doors
Milwaukie Lumber Co.
Modern Plumbing Co.
Moreno’s Granite & Marble
Newton Painting & Property Maintenance
Noodles and Company
Norlift of Oregon
Northwest Commercial Exterior Company
NW Masonry, LLC
NW Porter Works
Old Chicago
Olive Garden Restaurant
Oregon Interiors, Inc.
Oregon Professional Painting
OSI Productions
Petra Heating & Air Conditioning
Pinnacle Plumbing
Plumbing Materials Supply
Portland Housing Bureau
Private Lending Associates, Inc.
Proctor and Gamble
Rainier Pacific Electric
Renner Trucking and Excavating, Inc.
RH&A Painting, LLC
Richard L. Herbert Construction
Robert and Rebecca Burt Family Trust
Roofline Supply & Delivery
Ross Electric, Inc.
Schneider Electric / Square D
Shur-Cut Industries, Inc.
Spooner Construction
Stalcup Roofing & Construction
Standard TV & Appliance
Stewart Title Guaranty Company
Suburban Door Co., Inc.
Sweet Homes Enterprise
Sweet Tomatoes
Taylor Painting, Inc.
The Floor Store Portland
The Mullen Company
TruScapes, LLC
Trustworthy Cleaning
Trus-Way, Inc.
Villanueva Construction, Inc.
Western Pacific Building Materials
Westside Drywall
White Lightning Electrical, Inc.
Winroc SPI
Yale Locks

Watch coverage of Habitat’s Home Builders Blitz on KGW’s Talk Box!

Long-Term Missionaries Find Their Way Home with Habitat

The Siminos have spent most of their lives trying to help other people feel at home. As long-term missionaries for over 30 years, Robert and Alexis, along with their children, have lived and worked in South America, Mexico, Canada, and nine U.S. states.

In 2001 they came to Portland to be part of a ministry that brought in street kids for a hot meal, warm clothes and a break from street life. When their partners in the ministry moved on to other things, the Siminos had to adjust to a new lifestyle. With a lifetime of experience that doesn’t fit neatly on a résumé, they struggled to find work. Alexis eventually found a job at a deli and Robert is attending school to learn new job skills. Their apartment has been an extra source of stress.

“It’s not like having your own place, that’s for sure,” said Alexis, as she explained how their proximity to a busy street has created noise and safety issues, including an incident in which a car collided into their spare bedroom.

The Siminos share their Gresham apartment, which also has mold problems, lead plumbing and very old carpets, with their twin daughters. The ability to give their daughters their own space is just one reason Robert and Alexis are thrilled to become homeowners.

“For us, it will be a comfort to know we have a place for our kids.”

Acceptance into the Habitat for Humanity program has given the Siminos hope for a better future. Alexis is looking forward to freedom from the unpredictability of Section 8 housing and to finding a sense of community—plus her own washer and dryer. Robert sees their future home as a lifelong opportunity.

Thanks to Fish Construction NW and Habitat supporters, the Simino family home is scheduled for completion on Friday, June 13, as part of Habitat’s Home Builders Blitz 2014.

Want to provide a hand up to families like the Siminos? Learn more about how you can help!

Builders Hammer Towards June 13 Blitz Deadline

The walls are up, roofs are on and four home builders are currently halfway towards their goal of building four homes in two weeks in Portland. Four builders — Fish Construction NWNeil Kelly with PARR LumberNoyes Development Co. and Schumacher Custom Homes — along with countless local trades contractors and suppliers are donating labor and materials to build four homes in two weeks during a nationwide Habitat event called Home Builders Blitz 2014.

The event started on Wednesday, May 28 and will culminate on Friday, June 13, when the four families receive keys to their new homes at the Home Dedication Ceremony.

After day one, Fish Construction NW and Schumacher Custom Homes framer Ty LaCroix and his team from DML Construction already had the second story framed on the Kaw/Paw and Simino families’ homes. The second day, fellow builder Neil Kelly with PARR Lumber hoisted wall after wall on a flat slab of concrete until the future home of the Htoo family resembled the exact shape that the family had always dreamt about. Joining the race, first-time Blitz participant Noyes Development Company was installing trusses on day three and drywall on day four on the fully-accessible home for the Loe/Shwe family.

After one full week into the event, all four homes have roofs, weatherproofing and windows installed. While there’s still a long way to go, the progress is undoubtedly quick and energetic.

“By this time next week, we’ll be doing some landscaping and touch up paint,” said Josh Philippi, Habitat’s Director of Construction. “There is a lot of support from local trade professionals that the builders have brought with them. That kind of support helps make rapid progress on site. It’s incredible to see.”

Even though these homes are on an expedited build schedule, the families purchasing them have already put in 500 hours of sweat equity and will make monthly house payments that include taxes, insurance, and principal on the 0%-interest mortgage.

“We are a family owned company and building homes is our business,” Jeff Fish of Fish Construction NW said. “This is our fourth Blitz home and it’s a great pleasure to be a part of this event. Seeing a family’s joy when the home is complete is worth all of our hard work.”

The Home Builders Blitz is a Habitat for Humanity International event happening simultaneously across the nation, with a goal of building 300 homes and helping hundreds of families and children escape substandard housing and become proud Habitat homeowners. To date, 1,067 homes have been constructed nationwide in connection with Habitat’s Home Builders Blitz efforts.

Join Habitat as we celebrate the completion of four homes and Home Builders Blitz 2014. Learn more.

Learning Takes Priority as Htoo Family Meets Housing Needs

Htoo/Gay/Ni FamilyWhen your children want to be nurses, police officers or even doctors when they grow up, how do you get them the education they need while in a refugee camp in Thailand? With great effort and some good fortune you get to America. And then – with even more effort and good people who reach out and help – the incredible happens: you qualify for a house from Habitat for Humanity.

Such was the path that took Loo Htoo and his seven children from Myanmar, escaping their dangerous village, to a refugee camp in Thailand. For five years they lived in the camp, working to support the family and facing many challenges, including eldest son Grai contracting polio and becoming handicap in one arm because the lack of medical help in the camp.

Finally making the long journey to America, the Htoo family lived in crowded apartments where the conditions were poor and the costs high. Grai works to contribute to the family’s income and the younger children are learning English and studying hard. They have already changed schools once since moving here, and Sher, their mother longs for stability in their education.

While talking to a friend about their current, substandard apartment, they heard  about Habitat and decided to take his advice and apply for a home. It was good advice.

“I am excited to have a clean home and room for all of us and be able to stay in one place,” said Sher. “We can have relationships with the neighbors and be a permanent part of the community. Having a home to grow up in will end the children’s fears and anxiety about school and the home will eventually become their inheritance.”

With such a large family, many evenings are spent helping the children with homework and keeping up with the varied outside interests such as volleyball, swimming, and soccer. With five of the children interested in math and science, reaching their goals of becoming nurses and doctors will be a lot easier in a home that has room for all, and the stability the parents have always dreamed of providing.

Thanks to a generous partnership with local homebuilder Neil Kelly along with PARR Lumber, the Htoo’s home will be build as part of Habitat’s Home Builders Blitz 2014 from May 28, to June 13.
Learn more.

We’re Recruiting AmeriCorps Members for 2014-2015 Service Year

Photo by Steffan Hacker

Want to gain vital experience working in the community alongside Habitat for Humanity? We are currently seeking 11 dedicated individuals with a passion for affordable housing and gaining new skills for the 2014-2015 AmeriCorps service year.

AmeriCorps provides an opportunity for individuals to serve with Habitat for Humanity to help meet the housing needs of communities and families throughout the United States. Whether they are engaging communities, building homes, leading volunteers, raising resources or developing new programs, AmeriCorps members help Habitat affiliates operate more efficiently and effectively. Most importantly, members help us to serve more families.

We are currently recruiting for several AmeriCorps positions for our affiliate and ReStore:

  • AmeriCorps Construction Crew Leader
  • AmeriCorps Deconstruction Coordinator
  • AmeriCorps Home Repair Program Specialist
  • AmeriCorps Homeownership Program Assistant
  • AmeriCorps VISTA Resource Development Assistant
  • AmeriCorps VISTA ReStore Development Assistant

To apply for AmeriCorps positions, submit a motivational statement along with your resume to Marianne McClure at with “HFH AmeriCorps” in the subject by Friday, May 30, at 5:00 p.m.

To apply for AmeriCorps VISTA positions, submit a motivational statement along with your resume to Marianne McClure at with “HFH AmeriCorps” in the subject by Monday, June 23, at 5:00 p.m.

Learn more about the AmeriCorps program.

Homeownership Application Meetings Scheduled in May

Interested in owning your own home? Attending a Homeownership Application Meeting is the first step! Those interested in applying to become homeowners can determine if the Habitat program fits their needs by visiting our Homeownership page.

Monday, May 19, 2014
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Concordia University – Student Events and Activity Center
2811 NE Holman Street | Portland, Oregon 97211

Saturday, May 24, 2014
9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Portland Community College, Southeast Center – Rm. 139/140
2305 SE 82nd Ave. | Portland, Oregon 97216

Wednesday, May 28, 2014
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Midland Library
(ingles y español)
805 SE 122nd Ave. | Portland, Oregon 97233

Saturday, May 31, 2014
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Portland Lutheran School – Cafeteria
740 SE 182nd Ave. | Portland, Oregon 97233

Habitat for Humanity provides a unique opportunity for hardworking families to build and buy their own homes. Our homes are sold at no profit to our homeowner families, with a 1% down payment and a 0%-interest mortgage. The mortgage lengths vary depending on income. Habitat adjusts the length of the mortgage so that the monthly mortgage payment (which includes taxes, insurance, and condo fees if applicable) is no more than 30% of the homeowner’s gross monthly income. Habitat for Humanity mortgage payments are put into a revolving fund that helps pay for construction of future homes in the Portland/Metro East community.

The selection of families who will purchase homes from Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East is done by the Family Selection Committee in a way that does not discriminate because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, sexual orientation, age, gender identity or national origin or because all or part of the applicant’s income is derived from public assistance programs.

If you are an applicant with a disability and need to request accommodations to access any of our services, please contact Reianna DaRosa at 503.287.9529 x19 or

1,130 Show Their Support at Habitat’s HopeBuilder Breakfast

This morning, I had the privilege of standing in front of 1,130 people to share my journey to homeownership at the HopeBuilder Breakfast. I was truly in awe of the community coming together and raising more than $240,000!

I was able to achieve my dream of homeownership because of financial and volunteer support, allowing me to purchase my Habitat home with a 0%-interest mortgage. I will never forget the look on my kids’ faces when I told them we would be moving into our own home and never have to move again. While my family’s dream of stable and affordable housing has come true, there are still so many other deserving families in need of a hand-up. And it’s not too late to help.

Help us get to our $30,000 stretch goal, today! Your donation puts Habitat one step closer to partnering with other hardworking families like mine.

If you did attend the breakfast this morning, thank you so much for being a part of what makes our city so great!

And if you were not able to make it, now is your chance to get us to our goal!

With gratitude,
Sandra Casillas, Habitat Homeowner


Make a donation today and help Habitat partner with more hardworking families.

Photos courtesy of Heather Binns and Bill Purcell.

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