Habitat for Humanity of East Jefferson County’s Construction Manager David MacDonald, Volunteer Coordinator Tessie Taylor, Executive Director Jamie Maciejewski and AmeriCorps member Kegan Chay stand in front of one of the homes framed by Interfaith groups from Port Townsend. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Habitat for Humanity of East Jefferson County’s Construction Manager David MacDonald, Volunteer Coordinator Tessie Taylor, Executive Director Jamie Maciejewski and AmeriCorps member Kegan Chay stand in front of one of the homes framed by Interfaith groups from Port Townsend. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Volunteers make big gains on Habitat for Humanity homes; more volunteers sought

PORT TOWNSEND — Habitat for Humanity of East Jefferson County received some extra help over the holidays — and is seeking more volunteers for this year’s projects.

Volunteers from area churches made huge progress on the fourth and fifth houses being built in Birkenfeld Community near Hancock and 10th streets in Port Townsend, said Executive Director Jamie Maciejewski.

More than 30 volunteers worked more than 200 hours on three weekends in November and December as part of the annual Interfaith Group Build.

“We usually have about six people on site every day but when we do these group builds, we can hold about 12,” said volunteer coordinator Tessie Taylor.

“It’s just a way to increase our capacity and output for the day.”

Group builds, such as the Interfaith Build, are popular for church groups and local businesses, according to Taylor.

“It comes with lunch, treats and tools — and training is always provided so no experience is necessary,” Taylor said.

The houses worked on by the interfaith communities are now framed and covered. Windows and doors are expected to be installed within the week. The houses are expected to be completed in May, Maciejewski said.

Foundations have already been poured for more houses in the Birkenfeld Community, which was built in 2013 to easily hold 12 homes.

Three homes were completed in 2014 and 2015 and the home owners have moved in. Maciejewski said the plan is to complete four homes and start two more before 2018.

“We’re always looking for more volunteers,” Taylor said. “We tend to see more volunteers around this time but the weather will slow us down.”

While the holiday season often puts volunteers in the giving mood, it’s not the greatest time for construction, said Steve MacDonald, the construction manager for Habitat for Humanity.

“It’s hard to work when everyone is walking around like the Michelin Man,” MacDonald said.

Habitat for Humanity of East Jefferson has seen an increase in volunteers from last year. In 2015, the group was able to consistently have only two to three people working on a home each day, Taylor said. Now, five to six people come out every day to help build affordable homes in the Birkenfeld Community.

All Habitat for Humanity homes are built with the help of volunteers, community donations and work put in by the new homeowners.

“Habitat brings people together to solve housing situations,” Maciejewski said. “We work with people so they can become homeowners by getting them affordable mortgages.

“We’ve also done home repairs in south county, but it’s the community that makes this happen.”

This month, the group will begin interviewing people as potential Habitat Humanity homeowners of houses in the Birkenfeld Community that are expected to be complete in the fall.

“So far this neighborhood looks a lot like Port Townsend,” Maciejewski said. “It’s got single people, couples, young families.

“It’s a great snapshot of our community.”

Those interested in applying for the program can contact Maciejewski at homes@habitatejc.org or call 360-379-2827.

People interested in volunteering can apply by emailing volunteer@habitatejc.org.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at cmcfarland@peninsuladailynews.com.

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