Friday, August 31, 2012

Merger Update: Kirk Utzinger Named CEO of New Habitat for Humanity King County Affiliate

For Immediate Release
Media Inquiries: Roger van Oosten

August 31, 2012

            Kirk Utzinger Named CEO of New Habitat for Humanity King
County Affiliate

Will Oversee All Habitat for Humanity Operations in King County

SEATTLE – The boards of directors of Habitat for Humanity of Seattle/South King County and East King County announced today that Kirk Utzinger, former executive director of the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County, PA, has been unanimously selected to become chief executive officer when the two affiliates finalize their merger.

In June 2012, the Habitat for Humanity affiliates of Seattle/South King County and East King County agreed to move forward with a merger plan to create a single affiliate serving all of King County. The merger will be finalized within the next 90 days. 

“I am honored to become the CEO of the new Habitat for Humanity affiliate serving all of King County,” said Utzinger. “King County is the 14th most populous county in the nation, with a great diversity of businesses, geography and people. As the county continues to grow, the need for affordable housing and workforce housing for low-income families is critical to maintain a healthy, successful lifestyle for all the county’s citizens. I believe a single King County affiliate will be the leader in providing affordable housing and safe, sustainable neighborhoods throughout the county. I can’t wait to get started.”

Utzinger will begin his new position on September 17, 2012. Immediately, he will be overseeing existing Habitat for Humanity programs, including planning new projects. He also will be working with staff, volunteers, donors, government agencies, and leading non-profits in the housing sector to further develop more effective ways to increase affordable housing opportunities throughout King County.

“With more than two decades of philanthropic executive experience leading both national and regional organizations, Kirk is the right person to be CEO of, what will be, one of the largest Habitat affiliates in the country,” said Frank Perry, chairman of the board’s search committee. “This is an exciting time for Habitat’s critical operations in King County and the boards look forward to working with Kirk.”

Most recently, Utzinger served as executive director of the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Prior to that, he served in executive positions with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Oregon; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Arizona; Boys Hope Girls Hope of Arizona; The Christmas House, an inner city applied music program for at-risk children; and The Mesa Symphony Orchestra.

Utzinger also has diverse for-profit management experience, having worked with The Pillsbury Company and Merrill Lynch. He holds an M. S. degree in Public Programs – Non-profit Management, a Graduate Certificate of Non-profit Leadership and Management from Arizona State University, and undergraduate degrees in Music - Violin Performance from Arizona State University and Recreation Administration from Montana State University. Utzinger, and his wife Kellie have two sons, Kole, 13 and Karson, 11.

Habitat for Humanity of Seattle was founded in 1986 and merged with the South King County affiliate in 2003. The East King County affiliate was founded in 1988.



Thursday, August 30, 2012

Homeowner Update: Providing Stability for her Children

Terra with her daughter and son.
Terra deserves and appreciates the stability her family has since becoming a Habitat homeowner. She’s understands the burden caused by financial struggles and constant moving. She’s felt the toll it takes on a family.
As a teenager, Terra and her siblings packed up what they could fit into duffle bags and moved from Oklahoma to Seattle in hopes their single mother would be able to find better work options.  While completing high school, Terra worked full-time and took care of her younger sisters to make ends meet for her family.

“The experience drained us physically and emotionally. These were dark times for me, and I yearned for the comfort of stability as a child,” said Terra.
Terra was married by the age of 20, and had two children. After 6 years, her marriage ended and Terra found herself facing the dilemma of how to provide for her children as a single mom. She did not want her children to face the same chaotic childhood she grew up in.
“I live and breathe on my children’s happiness and everything I do is with an eye for their long-term stability and success,” said Terra.

Terra was introduced to Habitat for Humanity of East King County by her children’s daycare providers who were Habitat Homeowners.  At this time, Terra was spending over 35 percent of her income on rent for a 700-square-foot house that was poorly cared for. The lack of maintenance on the home forced Terra to cook for her family on a portable camping stove. Despite poor conditions at home, Terra thrived at work and was able to earn promotions. One promotion and raise put her income $75 over the state poverty line, which caused the family to lose their state provided medical insurance, WIC funding, and other benefits that helped her make ends meet.

Thankfully it wasn’t too long before Terra found out her family was selected to become Habitat Homeowners and a bright future lay ahead. Since moving into their new home, Terra works for the same company, but has moved through multiple promotions from customer service to Logistics Manager. Her children have also seen successes. They love school and have made many new friends in their neighborhood. They are both advanced readers and enjoy video game programming.
 “The stability of our lives has allowed us to grow into a community that we love and have become part of with our neighbors, many of the homeowners in our community have school age children, and we look out for each other in many ways,” said Terra. “I have never lived in a place that fostered the types of relationships that build trust and reliability within a small group of diverse people like the community at Patterson Park.”
Terra and her children in their Habitat for Humanity home.
The family enjoys having friends over for dinner, baking together, and trips to the park. Terra’s daughter loves to sew and make arts and crafts, and her son is a music student at the Rock n’ More School of Rock.

“Working with Habitat for Humanity has transformed my life and restored my faith in people, in the world, and in the future,” said Terra.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Habitat Affiliates Plan Merger to Serve All of King County

FROM: Sandra Lynch Holmes                                   Mary Martin
Habitat for Humanity Seattle/South King County      Habitat for Humanity East King County
206-292-5240                                                              425-869-6007                    

Two Habitat for Humanity affiliates plan merger to serve all of King County

April 25, 2012- The boards of directors of Habitat for Humanity of Seattle/South King County and Habitat for Humanity of East King County have committed to move forward to combine the affiliates to serve all of King County.

The boards voted separately after receiving a report from a task force that explored the advantages and challenges of combining operations. If the process proceeds as expected, a formal merger agreement would result in about 90 days. In the meantime, each affiliate will continue its normal operations.

"This is a significant step. The boards concluded that by merging the affiliates Habitat could be more effective in providing affordable homeownership to more families in King County," said Marty Kooistra, chief executive officer of the Seattle/South King County affiliate.

A merged affiliate would continue to offer homeownership possibilities to families living on 25 to 60 percent of the median income for King County. Those families must agree to partner with Habitat, invest sweat equity in their own and other Habitat homes and be able to make payments on a no-interest, 30-year mortgage.

As recently as 2009, one-fourth of King County’s work force could not afford to live in the county, and roughly half of all renters could not afford the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment. More than 50,000 very low-income households paid more than 30 percent of their monthly income for housing.

 "Housing affordability remains a big issue in King County," said Tom Granger, executive director of the East King County affiliate. "The economies and combined resources of a merger will allow us to do more, and we will have a stronger voice advocating for affordable housing."
The affiliates expect the merger to have a positive impact on their current mission or their strategic partners, though some changes are likely before a merger is formalized.

Habitat for Humanity of Seattle was founded in 1986 and merged with the South King County affiliate in 2003. The East King County affiliate was founded in 1988.


For more information, contact Kooistra at 206-292-5240 or, or Granger at 425-869-6007 or

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Construction Update: La Fortuna, Renton - August

August 4, 2012

3 units are ready to spray the trim paint next week and caulking and spackling continue in the other 3 units. 5 units have the kitchen counter tops built and ready for laminate, which is ready to be picked up. Bathroom counter tops have been started using the donated pre- formed tops from the store. Door knobs arrived and will be installed after paint.
Plumbing trim is ready to pick up next week. Fire sprinkler trim is started and the water supply is hooked to the meter. Phone and cable is trenched and ready for conduit. We have started digging for individual water meter hookups and will check into getting the meters set. We will pick up the side sewer permits next week and then schedule the sewer connections.
We have pre- rocked the fire room for the fire sprinkler contractor. They have started laying out and drilling and even ran some pipe. They expect to be done next week, but they had old plans and will need to submit a change to the fire department before they can have an inspection. We also connected the water supply to the meter.
Al nears completion with the plumbing in the last unit. Grant has said he will help Al out to finish up when he comes out next week to fix the leak in "b". We should be ready for inspection next week.
HVAC is scheduled to start next Tuesday. They should be about 3 days per unit and finish up this month.
All 4 garage doors have been wrapped and flashed. They now need firring out and pre- rack before the garage doors are installed.
Wetlands/ site work-
We watered, mowed, and weeded in the wetlands this week. We also eradicated some noxious weeds from the other parts of the site.

Work next week will include; interior trim painting, interior paint prep, utility trenching and hookup, house wrap, deck trim and posts, exterior paint, and wetlands work.
August 18, 2012
All six sewers were connected and back filled. Water meters are scheduled to be installed this week and will be connected the day after. Steve did a little final grading on the north end of the building and will be back after the water meters are connected to finish up the grading in front.
5 of 6 units are finished painting inside.
Kitchen coutertops are done in 2 units and ready for plumbing trim this week.
Scaffolding is going up in the front. Housewrap in finished except for the front. Windows are installed in "a" and the entry ways. All exterior doors are installed.
HVAC is done in 2 units and started in the 3rd.
Wetlands/ site work-We finished pulling up the tansy ragwort and attacked the blackberry vines. Dave Sanford brought in a mower and mowed about 1/2 of the site.
Work next week will include; housewrap, window prep, window installation, plumbing trim, siding prep, exterior painting, and water meter connections.

August 25, 2012
Progress is where we need to be for the work planned for TWB and we are ready for electricians in the Thrivent house. The hired ex- Americorps are making a difference and will allow me to enjoy my GV trip with confidence that the site will progress well.

Plumbing trim is progressing in 2 units, 95% in #4 and 75% in #3. We will call in Grant to trim out the other units when we have finished the counter tops. All six water meters are installed and connected, inspection will be on Tuesday and Steve will come back on Wednesday to grade for driveways and sidewalks.
Interior trim is painted and final touch ups started. Doors have been re- hung in 5 units and 95% of the door knobs have been installed. Closet shelving is finished in 5 units.
We are still working on batts for the porch ceilings, 75% completed.
Housewrap is 100% and only 4 windows are left to install. The slider doors are waiting for the deck membrane, which will be delivered on Tuesday.
Siding and trim will be delivered Tuesday and the paint is already on hand. Pre- painting will begin next week and continue through TWB.
Fire sprinklers are 95% and HVAC is complete in 4 units and 80% in "e".
Wetlands/ sitework-
Emailing Planning Department to find out what we need to finish before we can get Certificate of Occupancy in the first building in the development.
Work next week will include; windows, exterior trim, pre- painting siding, interior touch up paint, deck membrane, counter tops, plumbing trim, grading, and closet shelving.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

August Volunteer of the Month

Meet Robert Nielsen
Robert Nielsen has been out to our La Fortuna, Renton site nearly every day for the last two months to provide pro bono electrical work. He heard about the volunteer opportunity through his electrical apprenticeship and was excited that he was able to help people while also working on his electrical trainee hours. As a life-long resident of King County, Robert is glad he has had the opportunity to help the people of his community in such a practical way. Thank you Robert for everything you do for Habitat and the community!

Interview with Robert Nielsen

What aspects of volunteering with Habitat have you enjoyed the most?
- I really enjoyed reading the brief bio of each family who would own the home. It was encouraging to know who would live where I was working.
What, if any, skills have you gained?
  - I gained skills relating specifically to residential wiring which I have not learned in my commercial wiring apprenticeship.
Any other ways you would be interested in getting involved?
  - I would like to shop at a Habitat store when possible. In the future, I would like to bring my family to volunteer for a day.
What about Habitat’s mission is attractive to you?
  - I like that Habitat provides affordable housing for hard-working people.
What other interests/hobbies etc. do you have?
  - I enjoy hiking and camping with my beautiful wife and one year old son.

2012 Habitat for Humanity EKC Golf Tournament Results

The 2012 Habitat for Humanity of East King County Golf Tournament was a great success and a lot of fun for those who who participated. We are excited to announce that we met our fundraising goal of $20,000 to benefit Habitat's affordable housing program. THANK YOU!

Congratulations to all of the tournament prize winners!

1st place
Adrian Newell
Erik Heggelund
Casey Granston
Cory Balph
(For the second year in a row!)

2nd place
Allan Kuipers
David Frasch
Gerry Horn
Pat Domine
KP and Long Drive
Closest to Pin Hole #6 - Bob Moore
Closest to Pin Hole #16 - Michael Nahaku
Long Drive Hole #18 Womens - Carry Young
Long Drive Hole #18 Mens - John Maijoffer

Putting Contest Winner
Warren Huckaby

Special thanks to Co- Chairs of the event, Donovan Douvia and Jim Na along with the Golf Tournament committee members, for planning this event. Thank you to our presenting sponsor, Sterling Bank, along with all of our other generous sponsors (listed below) for your contributions. We couldn't do our work without you!

We appreciate your support for our mission of providing affordable housing to hard working, low-income families in our community.