3 Years later: Habitat for Humanity homeowner planting roots




Posted on June 4, 2013 at 6:27 AM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 4 at 5:33 PM

SPOKANE – Every year, Habitat for Humanity Spokane sees the interest in its housing program increase between 10 and 15 percent.

And even though CEO Michone Preston admits the organization is just scratching the surface of the housing need in our community, success can be measured by each family who moves into a Habitat-built home.

For example, single mother Barb Shell has spent three years in a home built during Habitat for Humanity’s 2010 Blitz Build. Before that, Shell and her three kids spent four years hopping homes based on how much rent they could afford.

But since they moved into their Habitat home three years ago, they’ve finally been able to put down roots – both so-to-speak and literally. Shell has built more than a garden: she’s finally able to pursue some of her own dreams like getting a degree from Gonzaga University last month.

“Without Habitat and a house, I can’t say I would’ve continued school,” Shell said. “It’s changed my life in many, many ways. I don’t even know how to explain them all.”

Shell currently works two part-time jobs and she said, without her low housing payments, she likely would’ve had to pick up another job just to make ends meet.

“All Barb needed was a hand up; she didn’t want a handout,” Preston said. “She wanted an opportunity where she could change her life and the people who donate with Habitat for Humanity just gave her that opportunity. But she’s transformed her life.”

Shell’s son, a freshman in high school, has been inspired by his mother. He now has his sights on attending Gonzaga, too.

The homes built by Habitat for Humanity aren’t just given away to families in need, applicants must demonstrate dedication to work over a two-year period. They pass a rigorous course and must put in 500 hours of sweat equity.

Habitat for Humanity Spokane’s 13th annual Blitz Build will construct four new homes in Hope Meadows, a neighborhood development in Deer Park.

If you want to donate time, funds or materials contact Habitat for Humanity Spokane.