Habitat for Humanity’s Portland Pride Build receives a $15,000 award, which completes their goal to raise $60,000 and helps seed the next home in 2010.

(July 27, 2009) Portland, Ore.-Kaiser Permanente has awarded $15,000 to support Habitat for Humanity’s Portland Pride Build. With the receipt of this volunteer grant, the Portland Pride Build leadership team has met their $60,000 home sponsorship goal for the current build and will begin raising funds for another Habitat for Humanity home in 2010.

Nearly one year ago, a group of impassioned Habitat for Humanity supporters gathered to begin coordinating the nation’s second Pride Build. Based on the model created in Austin, Texas, Portland Pride Build is a specialty build of Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East that embraces Portland’s diversity by bringing together the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) community and friends to plan and build a healthy and affordable home in partnership with a family in need.

The ties between decent, affordable housing and positive health outcomes for children and families is widely acknowledged within the healthcare community. For example, children who live in a clean, stable home are 44% less likely to have respiratory infections or gastrointestinal illnesses. Many families who move into Habitat homes previously contended with mold and pest infestations in their rental properties. When they move into their Earth Advantage certified Habitat homes, children and their parents literally breathe more easily.

Kaiser Permanente believes lasting change happens at the grassroots level. They support efforts that bring local issues to light, strengthen relationships, and help neighbors build safe and healthy communities. Tracy Dannen-Grace, manager of Kaiser Permanente Northwest’s Community Benefit department, is proud of the many employees who volunteer with nonprofits in the community. The Kaiser Permanente Gives Volunteer Grant Program celebrates their dedication by awarding funds to approved nonprofits where they donate their time and energy.

Currently in the framing stages, the Portland Pride Build is taking shape at Lents Landing, a nine-home Habitat for Humanity community located at the intersection of SE 97th and Woodstock. Volunteer opportunities are now available on site, Wednesday through Saturday. To sign up, visit the Habitat website: www.habitatportlandmetro.org.

The Jimenez family, future owners of this home, are well on their way to contributing the 500 hours of “sweat equity” required by Habitat. They will purchase the home at cost with a 0% interest mortgage thanks to donations and volunteer support. Each week members of the family work side-by-side with Portland Pride Build volunteers to help build their new home.

At present Fernando Jimenez and Teresa Portillo live with their three children Carlos, 20, Nathaly, 7, and Arnoldo, 2, in a two-bedroom apartment. Fernando works full-time to support the family as a set-up tech with a wire components company. Teresa stays home with Arnoldo, who is recovering from a serious operation on his spine. Carlos is a full-time student studying computer information systems at Portland Community College. Fernando and Teresa hope that their Habitat home will bring them stability so their other two children can do well in both life and school.

Other supporters of the Portland Pride Build include Nike, Affiliated Computer Services, and numerous individual donors. Thanks to the combined support of these funders and Kaiser Permanente, the leadership team has turned their fundraising efforts towards next year’s Portland Pride Build Habitat for Humanity home.

About Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East: Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East serves Multnomah County and northern Clackamas County. No other housing organization in the Portland/Metro East area offers a no-interest mortgage, giving Habitat the ability to reach out to families one step away from homelessness. Habitat sells the homes at cost, making no profit. Houses are sold below market value because of volunteer labor and donations. Families pay a 1% down payment on a 0% interest mortgage. Instead of being in a vulnerable and fragile economic position, Habitat families find themselves in a position of strength