Earlier this year, Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County started a new program called Build Hope, which allows groups that haven’t traditionally worked with Habitat to do crowdfunding and come out to build for a day on site.
Seattle’s robust LGBTQ community, and the fact that June was Pride month, led Habitat to host their first ever “Pride Build” this summer.
“Seattle has the second highest number of LGBTQ people per capita in the United States,” said Lauren Petersen-Green, Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County’s Community Engagement Liaison. “Because we’re a faith-based organization, we weren’t sure if the LGBTQ community knew about the services we offered and how to access them. What better way to do that than to have a Pride Build to introduce Habitat to the large LGBTQ community in our city?”
The Pride Build took place at La Fortuna, a development of 41 townhomes in Renton. Several local LGBTQ organizations participated—Social Outreach Seattle, Seattle Gay News, Equal Rights Washington, WildRose, HRC Seattle, and more. In total, the build raised $2,000 and was a great opportunity for the LGBTQ community to come together around affordable housing.
“Overall, the build went great,” Lauren reflected. “It was incredible to get such a strong welcoming and to see the LGBTQ community so passionate about providing for families in need. The lunchtime program was really powerful and we had an incredible line-up of speakers.”
While this is the first time that Habitat has hosted a Pride Build, their support for our community is longstanding. Most recently, they’ve worked with Michael and Javier Miazga to implement some much-needed repairs on their home.
For the past 26 years, Michael and Javier have been living in White Center. In their spare time, the couple enjoys gardening, taking care of their dog Turbo, and working on their home.
Javier has mobility issues due to hip problems, and recent medical expenses, along with water damage to their roof and ceiling, has made it challenging to keep up with home repairs.
When Michael and Javier heard about Habitat for Humanity’s Repair Program, the couple knew it was a great fit. Through the program, their back deck pier supports were replaced and the exterior of their home received a fresh coat of paint.
To them, this makes all the difference; they’re both “happy and thankful that Habitat was able to help us during a really hard time in our lives.”
In addition to Habitat’s home repair program, the organization also has a home ownership program that supports families or individuals living between 30-60 percent of the area median income. Applicants purchase the home by paying off the price of the loan directly to Habitat—with no interest and no down payment—making the entire process much more affordable.
Another component of Habitat’s programming is the concept of “sweat equity.” For homeownership, families must do 500 hours of classes and time on the build site. For their home repair program, it is 12 to 15 hours.
“This requirement serves as the ‘down payment’ and also helps families build skills through home maintenance,” shared Lauren. “It also adds to a sense of pride by allowing individuals to be a part of working on their home before they move in.”
Lauren hopes that the Pride Build and other efforts will continue to raise visibility to the LGBTQ community about the programs and support that Habitat offers.
“Around the country, same-sex couples continue to face discrimination, especially in the rental market,” Lauren noted. “It’s huge for an organization as large as Habitat for Humanity to be providing their services to people regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity. I’m hoping that we can set an example for other housing authorities across the country as well—if we’re open to housing people regardless of who they are, they should be too.”
As Habitat continues their work with the Miazga’s and families across Seattle-King County, we hope you’ll help us spread the word about their important programming! You can learn more about the recent Pride Build on their website, or through this video. Click here to learn more about Habitat’s work.
Zachary Pullin is Pride Foundation’s Communications Manager. Email Zachary.