Two needy families found homes in a Cully Neighborhood subdivision thanks to Habitat for Humanity Portland and its contractor cadre. The two homes at 6482 and 6485 N.E. Killingsworth Street were built on an accelerated Memorial Day weekend schedule and are the first of almost two dozen to be built with contractor donations and owner “sweat equity” in the near future.
Speaking for Habitat, Shasha Stecker said that Noyes Development of Beaverton contributed all labor and materials to make the pair of houses happen. “In addition, each family contributed 500 volunteer hours, at least 100 hours on their own homes and the rest on other houses,” Stecker said. “So Habitat’s gift becomes a hand up, not a hand out.”
Built on 30-by-80-foot lots, the 1,000-square-foot homes have three bedrooms and one bathroom.
One family, Gabriel and Sylvia Triplett and their two children said they are happy living in Cully. According to Gabriel Triplett, “We work here and go to church here, but our rent has increased twice in the past year. If it was not for Noyes Development and Habitat for Humanity, we would have to leave Cully and probably Portland in order to find a place we could afford.”
Minh Le and Thuha Luong, father of Minh and grandfather of Minh’s son, will be living next door. “We are very happy to have a place that has enough rooms for everyone to have their own bed,” said Minh Le, “Our current apartment is overcrowded and has stairs, and my parents are getting to an age that climbing the stairs every day is too hard.”
Stecker said Habitat holds zero-percent-interest mortgages on the homes, and the families are repaying the debt in monthly installments equivalent to one-third of household income. To qualify for the Habitat program, families must make between 35% to 60% of Portland’s median family income, between $25,000 and $42,000 annually.
While Habitat for Humanity is funded by private donations and government funding, there isn’t enough funding to meet the needs of the Portland community, according to Stecker, “We turn away ten applicants for each family we accept.”