Habitat for Humanity of Grays Harbor’s first house rehab project is under way, with the house sitting up on blocks as construction crews prepare to pour a new foundation.
This is the 18th Habitat for Humanity of Grays Harbor project, but the first where an existing house is being updated and rehabilitated. The decision was made by Habitat’s board to go this new direction because of the needs of the family that will be calling the South Aberdeen property home.
“The family had the option of having a new house or doing a rehab on the existing property,” said Habitat for Humanity of Grays Harbor construction manager Doug Carley. “Being a family of six they saw the remodel had more square footage and the cost was about the same (as it would be to build a new home on the site). They also get a larger piece of property than they would with a new house.”
That family of six includes Stephen and Natalie Tillery and their four children, Arianna, Antonio, Noah and Bethany. They applied for a Habitat home and the board found the family fulfilled the three main requirements: showing a need for the home — current living conditions unsafe, too small or too expensive, for example —, the ability to make monthly payments on the affordable loan package taken out for the home, and the willingness to “partner,” meaning each adult commits to 200 volunteer hours with Habitat for Humanity, half of which must be spent on the construction of the home they plan to move into.
Lifting the house about five or six feet was made possible by Kevin Reiher with Reiher Contracting. He recently moved to the area from the Midwest, where he owned his own structural lifting equipment. When Thompson General Contractors was having difficulty finding someone locally to do the job, Reiher returned to the Midwest, brought back his lifting equipment, including a number of heavy-duty hydraulic jacks, and was able to get the house off its existing foundation. Reiher has stayed on with the project since.
The house is located on Harding Road in South Aberdeen. Rehab efforts began in late August of 2017. There is no set timeline for construction as it depends on the number of volunteers who can be found to help out and the sheer amount of work that needs to be done to the home, but Carley is hopeful the project will be completed this summer.