5 December 2021Blog PostsFor those of you who don’t know me, my name is Shane Ellanson. For the last year I have been working at Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana as an AmeriCorps VISTA handling community outreach and volunteer coordinating. All of the blog posts, social media posts, and volunteer events that you have seen or been a part of I have produced or lent a hand to make possible. The last twelve months have been great but AmeriCorps terms only last for one year and it is time for me to move on to the next step in my professional career. Before I go, I wanted to reflect on my experience and thank a few people who helped me. When I joined the team here in Butte I was 22 years old and had just graduated college from Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota. I had no experience in the job that I was just brought in to do but my amazing supervisors Barbara Miller and Todd Hunkler gave me a chance because they liked the peace studies focus that I have on my Political Science degree and they believed in me. I hope that I have made you both proud of your decision to pick me as your VISTA for this year. Throughout my time here I have recruited/managed over 100 volunteers culminating into over 240 volunteer hours of work. I have helped to build partnerships in the community and met some amazing people that truly believe in the Habitat mission. Best of all, I have gotten to be a part of providing affordable, energy efficient housing to multiple low-income families in our community. Being a piece of that process has been the most rewarding thing that I have ever done, and I would encourage anyone reading this to get involved however you are able. This year-long experience has given me so much that I will never forget. For one, it was my first full-time job, which has been a learning experience in itself. But it has also taught me that many people just need a little nudge to get involved in an amazing cause, like affordable housing. I have enjoyed being that nudge for the last twelve months. Most importantly it has allowed me the opportunity to find a career in volunteer engagement that I love doing and like to think I am pretty good at. Volunteer engagement was never in the plan as I worked through college, but I couldn’t be happier that I have found it. Again, thank you to Todd and Barbara for giving me this amazing opportunity that helped me find a career that I am so passionate about. You two have truly changed my life! As December creeps up on us and the weather gets colder, I thought it was important to let the community know how amazing the whole team here at Habitat SWMT is and thank them for this amazing experience. Following my last day of work on December 6th, I will be heading back to Minnesota to begin working full-time with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity in St. Paul where I will get to continue doing this amazing work as an Engagement Associate. Thank you Barbara, Todd, Meagan, Shawn, Tracy, Beth, Maria, Arica, Nate, and everyone else who made this experience so enjoyable! It has truly been a privilege to get this opportunity and be able to work with you all, thank you! Also, thank you to the communities that I have been able to get to know and the volunteers that I have been able to work with. It has been great getting to know all of you and I appreciate your support of the Habitat mission. [...]
3 December 2021Blog PostsAs we near the end of another year, it seems like a good time to look back at all that we accomplished in 2021. This past year was a year of growth for both our organization and access to affordable housing in our community. We were able to finish construction on six energy-efficient, affordable homes for low-income families in Southwest Montana with help from over 100 volunteers totaling almost 250 volunteer hours, we also completed the Fairmont-Hancock Neighborhood in Butte this year, and we converted our ReSale Store into an official Habitat ReStore. All of these accomplishments are proof of our growing impact in Southwest Montana and how much our efforts can be felt when we all work together to improve our community. The housing construction cycle that we finished earlier this year included four new homes in Butte, one in Whitehall, and our first ever home built in Anaconda. The beginning of our affordable housing construction in Anaconda has widened our service area to now include six counties! Three of the four homes we finished in Butte this year were also our final homes in our Fairmont-Hancock Neighborhood. This neighborhood consists of 18 Habitat homes that have been constructed over the last five years. Not only does the neighborhood provide more energy-efficient affordable housing to the Butte community, it also contributes considerable revenue to the tax base allowing Butte-Silver Bow to continue to grow.  Another of our accomplishments in 2021 was upgrading our ReSale Store into an official Habitat ReStore! This is a big improvement for our Habitat affiliate as it will allow us to get more help with marketing. Included in the name change was a location change. The Habitat ReStore of Southwest Montana is now located at 640 S. Arizona St, Butte, MT. We have also expanded the store’s hours which can be found on the ReStore SWMT Facebook Page. Every purchase at the store helps fund the Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana mission and so it is important that we continue to grow the store’s reach. Of course none of this work would have been possible without the contributions of our 100+ volunteers over the last year. Individual volunteers and groups who lent a helping hand together put in nearly 250 hours of work in 2021. Volunteers are at the center of what makes Habitat’s mission a reality. Not only does it speed up our home building process, but it helps to keep the cost of construction down for Habitat families. This year we had volunteers help with painting, landscaping, flooring, and helping to set up our new ReStore location! Thank you to everyone that came out to lend a hand, your impact has certainly been felt and the work you did is important! As we look forward to the new year we are excited at the opportunity to continue building homes in our six county service area. Our first build cycle of 2022, which has already begun, includes four new homes in Anaconda as well as homes in Butte and Whitehall. Our ReStore team is settled into their new spot and looking for volunteers to come out and help them make 640 S Arizona feel like home. If you are interested in volunteering individually, fill out our individual volunteer sign-up form. If you have a group of friends or co-workers that would like to volunteer together, sign-up using our group volunteer sign-up form. Thank you for reading our 2021 reflection and continuing to support Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana. Happy holidays to everyone! [...]
29 November 2021Blog Posts / ReStoreWhat is the ReStore? Located at 640 S. Arizona St, our ReStore is an amazing store, open to the public, that accepts donations of new or slightly used building materials and home repair goods to resell them at huge discounts. All of the proceeds collected from the store go directly to Habitat for Humanity of  Southwest Montana to help them to continue providing affordable housing to our community. Not only does the ReStore allow the community access to affordable building materials at a time where costs are extremely high, it also supports an amazing entity in Habitat for Humanity! So, the question becomes how can you help? There are three important ways that you can make a difference through the ReStore: volunteer at the ReStore, shop at the ReStore, and donate new or slightly used goods to the ReStore. What is the Store Always Looking for? There are a few goods that the store is always looking for because they are our top sellers and we can’t have enough of them. Most importantly is PAINT! It doesn’t matter the color of the paint or how much is left in the can, only that another person would be able to use it. Cabinets are another product that we always have a need for, preferably in complete sets. However, individual cabinets are always good as well. Solid exterior doors are another big seller for the store. We have a large selection of doors, but solid exterior doors are the ones that always go first. The store also loves to receive working appliances in good/great condition. Refrigerators and ranges are the two that we tend to move very quickly and love to see come in as donations.  What won’t the Store Take? Most importantly all donations should be in working order with no missing hardware or broken parts, deep scratches, chips or cracks. We will be reselling these goods to the community and do not have the necessary time or staff power to make major repairs to donated products. Also, the store will not accept unframed glass or mirrors, water heaters, furnaces, heat pumps, plumbing fixtures that are not EPA compliant, clothes, used mattresses or box springs, cloth furniture, or ammunition/weapons. It is important to state that ReStore staff always have the right to refuse any donation, even if the donation appears to fit our donation criteria. The needs of the store are always changing and therefore our accepted donations are as well.  Donate to the ReStore To schedule a donation drop-off you can call the store at (406)565-9382, this is preferred to make sure that your donation fits our criteria before you get to the store. It is also possible to simply visit the store at 640 S Arizona St. during business hours. The store is open Wed. – Fri. from 10 AM – 6 PM and Sat from 8 AM – 2 PM. Our ReStore staff are happy to provide a donation receipt for tax purposes following any qualifying donation. You can also sign-up to volunteer at the ReStore by filling out our individual volunteer sign-up form. Be sure to like the ReStore on Facebook to stay up to date on store events and sales. Thank you for reading and continuing to support Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana! [...]
22 November 2021Blog Posts / HousingAs 2022 approaches you may be looking for a way to improve your family’s life. Consider applying for a Habitat home if your household income fits our income restrictions. We build affordable, energy-efficient homes in Southwest Montana across a six county region. Review the nationally acclaimed, award-winning housing plans created by our sister organization, National Affordable Housing Network (NAHN), to see which one would best fit your home. Our application process is quick and easy. You can stop by the office at 66 W Park St. during business hours to pick up your application or you can apply online. The online application will only take a few minutes and requires only basic contact and household information. Following the completion of the application, you will be contacted by one of our credit counselors to set up a housing credit counseling appointment. This is an important step, provided for free, in the process to make sure that you will be able to get approved for a low-interest mortgage through our funders at the USDA. If necessary, our credit counselors will provide you with advice on how to increase your credit score, reduce debt, or teach budgeting skills to get you approved for your low-income mortgage. If you would like to learn more about the Habitat process, please look over our Habitat Home Building Process page. Have no other questions? Great! Now that you know how to apply, click here to begin the application process. Also be sure to Like Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana on Facebook to stay up to date on our ongoing project and opportunities. Thank you for reading and supporting Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana. We look forward to reviewing your application. [...]
9 November 2021Blog Posts / HousingAs we get closer to the beginning of winter, there are a few things we thought were important to remind homeowners to check. It is important to the health of your family and welfare of your home that you follow this list before winter starts. This short winter prep checklist will include three easy steps that can help make sure that your household has a safe and enjoyable winter. Winter Prep Steps First, get your furnace checked. This is the only item on this list that you will likely need to hire someone to do for you. Most contractors will do a general inspection for relatively cheap and it can save you a lot of money and headache to catch any issues with your furnace before it gets too bad. Montana winters can get really cold and an inspection will make sure that there are no signs that the furnace is going to give out or act up once you begin to run it regularly. Contractors can also check to make sure that the unit is running as efficiently as possible. This will help to keep your heating costs down through the cold months and save you a lot of money. Next, clean your gutters. This is one of the most monotonous chores to do around the house. However, cleaning your gutters will make sure they work properly as the snow thaws and melts off of your roof. Properly working gutters will help to stop lawn flooding and damage from the amount of water that may be falling in the same place if the gutters are clogged. If snow melt accumulates too close to your house it may also leak into your basement causing water damage. All of that can be avoided by taking an hour in the fall to make sure your gutters are clear of leaves, dirt, and anything else that may be blocking the passage. Finally, test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the house. We have all been taught the importance of these little machines. However, they can’t do their job if they aren’t working properly or have dead batteries. Testing your detectors may take as little as 5-10 mins and may save your life. Most smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have a button on the front that says “test”, if you are unable to find this button refer to the owners manual or perform a quick search online to find out how to test your model. Get Involved By following these three simple steps you can make sure your family will stay warm and safe and you can protect your home from damage through the winter. Make sure to Like us on Facebook to read new blogs as they come out. To join the Habitat community, visit our “get involved” page and sign-up. Thank you for reading and continuing to support Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana. [...]
3 November 2021Blog Posts / ReStore / VolunteeringHabitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana is always looking for groups, organizations, and businesses in the community that would like to get involved with volunteering. All of our volunteers are appreciated and make a significant contribution to our mission. However, when we have a volunteer group that signs up together we are able to set up a volunteer event much more quickly. This translates to being able to procure more events each month. Overall volunteer groups allow us to make a larger impact in a shorter amount of time.  We have ongoing construction projects that always need volunteers throughout our six county region. Construction volunteers usually help out with things like painting, landscaping, and flooring. The work depends on where we are at in our current construction cycle and so it is always changing. Alongside construction volunteers, we also are looking for volunteers to help out at our ReStore. Smaller groups are ideal for ReStore work. This is because the store itself gets easily crowded and difficult to work in with groups larger than five. Therefore, volunteer groups of 3-5 are perfect for helping at the ReStore. Regardless of how you decide to chip in, know that every volunteer makes a difference and helps us continue to provide affordable housing to our community! Get Involved Make a big impact in your community by signing up your group to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity SWMT today! Volunteer groups always enjoy their volunteer events with us, get to spend some time outside of the office together, and get some photos to use for their social media and websites. Use our group volunteer form to get signed up. If you would like to volunteer individually, fill out our individual volunteer form. Whether you decide to help with construction or in the ReStore, you are helping your neighbors and improving your community. Thank you for reading and thank you for continuing to support Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana. Like us on Facebook to stay up to date on upcoming volunteer opportunities.  [...]
25 October 2021Blog Posts / VolunteeringVolunteering with organizations like Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana have many benefits for the community, but there are also multiple benefits for the individuals who volunteer! Volunteering is good for the soul. Every individual volunteer will find something exciting and rewarding about the opportunity to give back to their community through volunteering. After speaking with former volunteers, we found that three overarching themes seem to be a rejuvenated sense of community, boosted morale, and a newfound sense of purpose.  Volunteering is Good for the Soul Volunteering is a special event that can truly change lives, not only for our partner-families but also for our volunteers. Habitat SWMT has built a community of staff, volunteers, board members, and many other community partners that we are always looking to grow through new volunteers. Being a part of our community allows volunteers to build friendships and make connections through Habitat. Especially in the wake of COVID, building relationships has never been more important to an individual’s mental health. We want to help build a strong community in Southwest Montana and would LOVE to have you be a part of that community. We have also noticed a boost in morale from our volunteers following their first event with us. Knowing that they are making a positive impact in their community lifts our volunteers spirits and gives them a new perspective. That moral boost also seems to be linked to a newfound sense of purpose. Many of our volunteers started with Habitat because they had free time that they wanted to use productively. After finding that with us, they tell us that they feel refreshed and excited about life. Helping people achieve affordable housing has given them a new purpose in their lives. Habitat SWMT is happy to offer the opportunity to anyone willing to lend a hand. Get involved today It’s as easy as filling out with our individual volunteer sign-up form or our group volunteer sign-up form. After signing up using the appropriate form, a Habitat staff member will reach out to you to set up a volunteer event. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook to stay up to date with new developments and public volunteer events. Thank you for reading and be sure to check back soon for new articles and announcements! [...]
13 October 2021Blog Posts / VolunteeringHabitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana welcomes all community members and organizations to volunteer with us! Today’s article is about one type of community organization that we are hoping to build a stronger relationship with: faith communities. Being a Christian organization, Habitat knows the power and selflessness of faith communities. They are often tight-knit, caring groups that work hard to give back to the community that they live in. For this reason we would like to get our local faith communities more involved with Habitat. We are calling on all faith communities in Southwest Montana to come out and join us on the work site or in our ReStore. Get a prayer group, bible study, or general congregation group together and help us improve the lives of others in our community. Everyone 16 years old and above are welcome to join our team in building homes for families in our area. We know that more people want to get involved than actually sign-up. Sometimes it just takes one person to start a conversation to get a volunteer group together. We are calling on YOU to start that conversation within your faith community. Put your faith into action today! No experience required to make an impact! If your faith community would like to help us make a difference, fill out our group sign-up form today. If you are struggling to get a group together, we will happily invite individuals out with our individual sign-up form. We have also just put together an article to answer questions about what volunteering with Habitat will look like, click here to give it a read. Thank you for reading, please give us a like on Facebook to stay up to date on where we are with projects and upcoming volunteer opportunities.  [...]
8 October 2021Blog Posts / VolunteeringVolunteering with Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana is a rewarding and fun experience, however we recognize that it can be scary to try something new. We promise that our volunteer events are easy, rewarding, and can even be educational. The best way that we can think of to dispel some of the uneasiness, felt by many prospective volunteers, is to explain the whole process. In today’s blog we will give a clear overview of what a new volunteer can expect when they lend Habitat a hand. Individual Construction Volunteers To get started, an individual construction volunteer would log onto our website and fill out our individual volunteer sign-up form. After filling out the form, wait for our volunteer coordinator to reach out to you. Once we have enough interested individual volunteers to hold an event we will begin planning and outreach. After the event has been established and planned, our team will welcome you onto a construction site. Each volunteer will have to sign a waiver and check-in with our staff before being allowed to start working. There will also be a short intro before the event begins so that we can introduce Habitat staff and hold a short training if needed. We will take some pictures throughout the event and post them on our website and social media. We will also share the pictures with the volunteers if requested. There is no requirement for how long a volunteer is required to stay. However we do not run our events longer than four hours. No volunteer will ever be asked to do anything that they do not feel comfortable with. All skill levels and expertise are welcome and can make a significant impact in the lives of their neighbors. Volunteer Groups If you have a group of volunteers interested in construction, a representative from your group should fill out our group volunteer sign-up form, also located on our website. Our volunteer coordinator will then reach out to your group’s representative to find a date and time that works with your group and our team. After the event has been scheduled, we will send over our volunteer waiver so that you can get them filled out ahead of time. We always bring extras to the event. Although if the waivers are filled out ahead of time, it speeds up the sign-in process. There will also be a short intro before the event begins so that we can hold a short training if needed and so everyone knows which people at the event are Habitat employees. We will take some pictures of the event and use them on our website and social media. We will also share them with the volunteer group representative if requested. No volunteer will ever be asked to do anything that they do not feel comfortable with. All skill levels and expertise are welcome and can make a significant impact in the lives of their neighbors. ReStore Volunteers ReStore volunteers should also fill out our individual volunteer sign-up form or group volunteer form if interested. For individuals, our ReStore welcomes volunteers on a rolling basis. Meaning you will be contacted much quicker to set up a time for you to volunteer at the store. For groups, please keep in mind that our ReStore can only handle small groups of 5 or less. Ideally, we are looking for volunteers who would be willing to participate at the store regularly, but will never turn away someone willing to lend a hand. ReStore work is gonna be less physically demanding than construction volunteering, but just as meaningful and rewarding. Upon showing up at the store, you will be greeted by a Habitat staff member. They will have you fill out a volunteer waiver and give you a short tour of the store. They will then explain what they would like to have your help with and get you started on the work. ReStore work can be anything from sorting donations, cashiering, or organizing and displaying new products. ReStore volunteering is a great way to get involved with the public and make a difference in our community! Get involved today! Take a couple of minutes to fill out the appropriate sign-up form that are both linked above. Be sure to check out the rest of our site to read about all of the different ways that you can get involved through monetary donations, vehicle donation, and volunteering. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook to stay up to date on volunteer opportunities and read our other blogs as they come out. Thank you for supporting Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana! We hope to see you volunteering soon! [...]
30 September 2021Blog Posts / DonateHabitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana is proud to introduce our brand new GEM program! GEM (Givers of Every Month) is our brand new monthly donation program. We have set up this program to encourage regular donors with some amazing incentives! On the newest addition to our website, https://www.habitatswmt.org/makeadonation/, anyone is able to easily set up a monthly contribution to our organization through Paypal. Monthly donations have no requirements or limitations on the amount. It does not matter if it’s $10 or $100, every dollar is important! By setting up a monthly donation by the end of this calendar year YOU can become a GEM Founding Member. These members will be recognized on our website for years to come! Every GEM will receive a personalized letter of thanks from our Executive Director, opportunities to participate in VIP/GEM-only volunteer events, the knowledge that you are regularly contributing to improving your community, with more benefits coming in the near future. After setting up you monthly donation, you will be linked to the GEM Info Form which you must fill out to receive your benefits. Monthly donations allow us to continue growing our organization and increasing the amount of affordable housing in Southwest Montana. These donations are vital to success of Habitat for Humanity. We cannot overstate our thanks to those who are willing to help us improve the community.  As this is a new program, if you believe you have not received your GEM benefits or have any questions about this program please contact Shane at sellanson@habitatswmt.org. Set up your monthly gift to become a GEM today! Make a one time donation at this link if you would prefer to give that way. Every dollar that is donated to Habitat SWMT is important and makes a difference in OUR community. Make sure to like us on Facebook to stay up to date with upgrades made to this program and others. [...]
23 September 2021Blog Posts / ReStoreAfter weeks of hard work our ReStore is ready to reopen in our new location. The ReStore will open this Friday, September 24th, at 10 AM in our new store located at 640 S. Arizona, the old Value Mart building. We still have some setting up and finishing touches to do in the new building but have enough product set and updates done that we are ready to welcome customers back into the ReStore.  Over the last few weeks we have moved all of our product from our old location on pallets and trucks. Throughout that process we were able to make sure that all of the products that we took the time to move to our new store were worth moving. Therefore, we have upgraded our entire stock and feel confident that every product in our inventory will allow a community member to complete their project at a bargain price!  The new building resembles a retail location much more than our old store. This allows us to display our products in a much more organized and appealing way. We are also working on installing a ramp to one of the exterior doors to the store to make our ReStore handicap-accessible for the first time in history! Pair these improvements with the historic building, increased size, and improved pick-up/drop-off docks and this is an amazing upgrade. We believe that this move will allow our ReStore to continue providing building materials at a reduced cost to even more members of our community.  Stay Involved Starting this Friday September 24th at 10 AM, come check out our new ReStore location and our refreshed inventory at 640 S. Arizona St.! Be sure to regularly check out the store to see the upgrades we will continue to add. Like the ReStore on Facebook to stay updated on sales and upcoming events as we continue to make this new location our home. If you are willing to help out at the store, we are always looking for volunteers. Sign-up to help out by filling out our Individual Volunteer Sign-Up. Thank you for reading and continuing to support Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana! [...]
22 September 2021ReStore / VolunteeringOn September 21st, we were happy to welcome the St. James Hospital Construction Team from Mortenson into our new ReStore location to help us get ready for our opening day. This team made a large impact in only a few hours. The Mortenson volunteers helped us clean up our warehouse from the move to the new building by breaking down and disposing of unneeded materials. They also helped our ReStore staff set up our show room by mounting peg board throughout the space and beginning the process of stocking those boards with inventory. These Mortenson volunteers also helped us to temporarily secure our front walk way from potential trip hazards. The concrete on the front walkway has some chips and cracks that we need to fill with fresh concrete. However, we do not have time to pour before we open. So, for the moment our volunteers covered the concrete with plywood to make sure our customers can enter our new location safely. Thank you Mortenson volunteers! Sign up your volunteer group at our ReStore our at a constrution site by filling out our group volunteer sign-up. To sign up to volunteer as an individual, use our individual volunteer sign-up. Volunteers do NOT need any experience to make a difference. In fact, through our on-site training, it is very possible that volunteers may learn a new skill while on site. Every volunteer helps us continue to provide affordable housing to our community and improve the lives of members of Southwest Montana! Make a difference with your free time by volunteering with Habitat! [...]
15 July 2021ReStoreThe Habitat ReStore of Southwest Montana is integral to the mission of Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana. The store helps fund our affiliate, keeps usable goods out of the landfill, and allows community members to repair or renovate their homes at a reduced cost. This means that the store benefits the community at-large, the environment, and individual community members. Hundreds of community members already feel the impact of the ReStore. Our goal is to continue to grow the reach of the store so everyone has access to these benefits. Impact of the Restore The process by which the ReStore funds Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana is pretty simple. All of the products sold in the store are donated by community members and businesses. That means that we are able to price those goods at about 50% of retail cost, or less depending on condition. All of the revenue from the ReStore goes directly to Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana to contribute towards building more affordable homes in our community. Many of the goods that are donated to the ReStore may have otherwise ended up in the landfill. Helping to reduce the waste of usable goods is a major bonus to any donated goods store, and an attribute that Habitat is very proud of. Many people cannot afford the ever rising costs of building materials. They depend on the donated goods in the ReStore for access to these kinds of products. Helping other members of the community repair or upgrade their homes at a drastically reduced cost is the most important reason that we want people to support the ReStore. Just like homes, building materials need to be affordable as well. We believe that everyone deserves a place to call home that they are proud of and feel safe in. The ReStore is turning that belief into a reality. Support the ReStore Please check out our ReStore at 821 S Arizona St. in Butte, MT. It is open from 10:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M. from Wednesday through Friday and from 8:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M. on Saturday. We are always looking for volunteers to help out at the store. To volunteer at the ReStore or with Habitat construction projects please fill out our volunteer sign-up form. We also depend on donations from the community to continue to provide affordable building materials. To donate building materials, please call our store at (406)565-9382 or stop by during business hours. Also, be sure to like the Habitat ReStore of Southwest Montana on Facebook to stay up to date on sales and current inventory. [...]
29 June 2021Blog Posts / HousingOn June 29th, Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana and National Affordable Housing Network (NAHN) were proud to host a home dedication on the 3000 block of Fairmont St. After five years of hard work, thousands of hours of volunteer effort, and more than 15,000 hours of family sweat equity, a new neighborhood has been created on vacant land in the Whittier School area in Butte. Habitat and NAHN have completed a total of 18 homes, including six condos and 12 single family homes. Dedicated on Tuesday were the final three homes in the neighborhood. These 18 new homes are now added to the tax base. Producing revenues to help share the costs of city-county services, schools, and public safety. At the same time, their hard-working owners have earned a combined total of at least $360,000 in equity in their new homes. This serves as a down payment on their properties. The backbone of the project, affecting all 18 homes, is the ongoing partnership between the Mutual Self Help program operated by NAHN. This program supports team-built homes across rural America since 1944 through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development program.  NAHN, with Habitat, has operated the program in Southwest Montana since 2004.  The program has completed neighborhoods in six other areas in Butte. We would like to thank all of our volunteers and supporters who made this project possible. We had a great home dedication event! It was exciting to see all of the smiles on our families faces! Fill out our volunteer sign-up to participate in future volunteer projects and help bring affordable housing to Southwest Montana. Apply for a house of your own through NAHN and Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana. Fill out NAHN’s New Client Intake Form to apply. [...]
22 June 2021Blog Posts / VolunteeringHabitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana is constantly looking for volunteers to help in a number of different ways: Construction, ReStore, Community Outreach, and Office Administrative Support. Volunteers are the cornerstone of nonprofits, like Habitat. Community members who are willing to give their time are why we are able to continue working towards our mission. These kinds of volunteer opportunities also have multiple good benefits for the volunteers. Today we will be focusing on the new, helpful skills that volunteers can learn through volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. The majority of volunteers are construction volunteers and help us build homes. This work includes things such as interior/exterior painting, landscaping, flooring, and framing. Many volunteers have never done the work we ask of them and we are more than willing to provide a brief training to make sure that the work is performed to our standard. These skills translate to everyday life through home repairs and basic maintenance. The more a person understands about how a home is constructed, the more able they will be to fix any issues they have with their own home.  Outside of construction, volunteers help out at our ReStore and at our main office with community outreach and administrative support. This kind of volunteer work seems less exciting to most volunteers but is invaluable to the overall mission of Habitat. We need volunteers to help us with this work so that we can operate smoothly and continue raising funds for our construction projects. These volunteers learn skills such as customer service, interpersonal communication, and organizational skills. These skills are highly sought after by employers and can be learned through volunteering with Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana.  Sign Up to Volunteer Click here to learn more about our volunteer opportunities. Fill out our individual volunteer sign-up form here to learn through volunteering. Also, feel free to reach out to Shane with any questions regarding volunteer opportunities at sellanson@gmail.com. Thank you for reading and be sure to check back soon for new articles! [...]
1 June 2021Blog Posts / ReStoreOur Habitat ReSale Warehouse will be officially opening as a Habitat ReStore on June 4th! Join us at 10 AM this Friday, June 4th for the ribbon cutting at 821 S. Arizona St. in Butte. The ReStore will also have new, expanded hours starting Friday June 4th.  From then on, new hours will be Wednesday through Friday 10:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M. and Saturday 8:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M. Donation drop off hours are: Wednesday – Friday: 10 AM to 5 PM, and Saturday: 10 AM to 12 PM. Also, be sure to like our ReStore on Facebook to stay updated on the amazing deals available at the ReStore. Habitat for Humanity ReStores are home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used solid material, furniture, appliances, building materials and more to the public at a major savings over retail price. Proceeds from the Habitat for Humanity ReStores help the organization build homes in partnership with low-income families. The community has come together to see this project through to reality, at the 13,000 Square Foot facility on Arizona Street.  “We are so incredibly grateful.” said Shawn Cote, ReStore Warehouse Manager.  “We’ve had hundreds of volunteer hours getting ready for this event,” he said, noting the efforts of assistant manager Maria Ralph and Dave Ryan, the new store director. Over the last two weeks, our team has been hard at work filling the store with new donations.  Come and check out the store and see some of the amazing new products that we have available. For more information check out our website at www.habitatswmt.org/restore. [...]
19 May 2021Blog Posts / HousingHomeownership has the potential to positively impact one’s life in many different ways. In today’s blog we will discuss how the whole family’s health and nutrition can be improved by moving into a home of their own. Homeownership makes lifestyle changes related to health possible because of two main reasons: a reduced monthly housing cost and an improved attitude towards the homeowners life. Many Habitat families across the world have reported improved health and nutrition. Firstly, the most common health improvement is shown in the mental health of the new homeowner. This is regularly seen through a renewed positive outlook on the life of the family. A new, affordable home has the potential to completely change the world view of the homeowners. It can allow them to believe that anything is possible for them. Having a home that they are proud to show off and feel safe in is relieving to all homeowners. Another positive impact of affordable housing is that it allows them the opportunity to budget more money towards healthy foods. No longer having a monthly rent payment, alongside the free Credit Counseling provided by our partner, National Affordable Housing Network, allows for extra money in the budget to make more home cooked meals that are healthier for the entire family. This can provide a drastic physical health improvement to the new homeowners. Combine these two health improvements and the potential enhancement in quality of life is astronomical. How to Help Help provide affordable housing in Southwest Montana by filling out our volunteer sign up form. You can also donate to Habitat to help us continue building. Apply to build your own home by filling out our New Client Intake Form. Habitat for Humanity SWMT and NAHN are proud to continue improving the quality of life for residents in our community by providing affordable housing. Thank you for reading and be sure to check back soon for new articles. [...]
5 May 2021Blog Posts / VolunteeringVolunteering with Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana has many benefits. Volunteers help their neighbor obtain safe, affordable housing, better their community’s appearance, and learn new construction skills. Although all volunteers achieve those three amazing benefits, groups have the added bonus of a good public relations (PR) event. Volunteering and PR go hand in hand. Organizations and businesses profit greatly from this reward of volunteering with Habitat. All communities love to see groups working together to improve the community that they live and work in. That work never goes unnoticed! Through some pictures and social media posts, it is possible to let Southwest Montana know just how committed your organization is to bettering the housing issue in our community. Most group volunteering only takes a few hours of time to make a major impact. With the help of a volunteer group it’s possible to paint an entire house in only 3 hours! By contributing only a few hours of time, your organization can vastly improve community relations and make a lasting impact on the lives of some community members. To sign your group up to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity SWMT, please fill out our Group Volunteer Sign-Up Form. We will contact you shortly after your completion of this form to set-up a volunteer date and time. Please check out our volunteer page to learn about the kinds of opportunities that are available and find one that best fits your group and availability. Also, feel free to email Shane, our Volunteer Organizer, with any questions at sellanson@habitatswmt.org.  [...]
26 April 2021DonateHabitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana is grateful for every donation that is graciously given to us to help provide affordable housing to the residents of Southwest Montana. We accept donations in three ways: monetary donation, vehicle donation, and material donation. Each of these donation types are eventually turned into cash for us to use towards building homes. We are commonly asked how we use that money to help us fulfill our mission, this article will explain how each dollar is used to help Habitat build affordable homes for families in Southwest Montana.  Our cash donations are used in a few different ways to help us keep operating. These funds are primarily used alongside our grant money to help pay for construction materials. However, these donations also help fill in the gaps in our budget that grants don’t usually cover. Some of these areas are: staff salaries, operating expenses (Office space, utility bill, etc.), and community outreach. All of these areas are vital to our organization’s continued impact. Material and vehicle donations function similarly to cash donations. This is because both of these donations are eventually turned into cash for the uses described above. Every dollar, material, and vehicle that is donated contributes to our success.  To make a donation, please follow the links in the first paragraph of this article. To volunteer, please fill out our Volunteer Sign-Up Form. Regardless of your method of giving to Habitat for Humanity, rest assured that your giving is vital to our organization’s ability to continue building affordable housing in Southwest Montana. Thank you for reading! Please check back soon for new articles. [...]
13 April 2021Blog Posts / HousingLooking to revitalize your home, but you need a little help with the labor? Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana offers a program called A Brush with Kindness (ABWK). This is an exterior painting and small home repair program for low-income or disabled homeowners. Homeowners qualify for ABWK based on need and feasibility of the project. This program is available to anyone that fits the requirements, not restricted to just Habitat families. We want everyone to be proud of the home that they live in! ABWK helps revitalize the appearance of neighborhoods, strengthens connections within the community, and helps preserve affordable housing stock. The Brush with Kindness program offers relatively small repair projects consisting of exterior work such as painting, patching, minor repair, or replacement of materials. ABWK is not a full home remodel program, it is only for small home repairs. Projects can be denied by Habitat staff for not following this condition. How to Apply To qualify for ABWK, the homeowner must be unable to afford to have the work done or be unable to do it themselves. All projects must also be able to be completed by volunteer labor and donated or minimal materials. Before the project starts, Habitat for Humanity SWMT asks for a minimal $50 fee from the homeowner to help cover costs associated with the project.Estimated completion time could range from 1 day to 1 week or more. Experienced Project Managers will make inspections. We prioritize projects based on review from Habitat staff and condition of the home after being approved.  To learn more about the program or inquire about a project call our office at (406) 782-8579 or email Shane at sellanson@habitatswmt.org. Volunteer on projects like this by filling out our individual volunteer sign-up. Sign-up a group to knock out a lot of work in one day. Also, like us on Facebook to stay up to date with opportunities. Thank you for reading, check back soon for new articles! [...]
5 April 2021Blog Posts / DonateHabitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana is excited to announce that we are now embracing the Cars for Homes program. This is a great opportunity to make a donation to our affiliate. Not only will we receive a large portion of the revenue made from the sale of your vehicle, but you may also be eligible to receive a tax credit for the donation. So, how does it work? Habitat for Humanity is very proud of the ease and efficiency of our Cars for Homes program. Many types of vehicles are accepted in this program: cars, trucks, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, boats, snowmobiles, farm equipment and construction equipment. To start the donation process, either call (877) 277-4344 or visit carsforhomes.org to submit the information on your vehicle. On the pickup date, a Habitat Agent will show up to haul your vehicle away and retrieve the title. Once you have signed the title over to Habitat for Humanity, you no longer own the vehicle and are not responsible for it. Then, Habitat will sell the vehicle through a nationwide network of auctions and direct buyers. After the vehicle has been sold, Habitat will send you a letter containing the vehicle’s sale information.  Vehicle donation is not only good for Habitat, it is also environmentally friendly. Recycling cars keeps a huge amount of steel out of landfills – enough to build nearly 45,000 steel-framed homes every year. The energy saved each year is enough to power approximately 18 million homes! If you have a vehicle that is no longer being used, consider donation. Every donation makes a difference and the families that partner with us are extremely grateful for your help.  If you do not have a vehicle to donate, but still want to contribute, there are many options. You can make a monetary donation or sign-up to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity SWMT in many different capacities. Volunteer opportunities include construction, ReStore work, community outreach, and others. As always, thank you forreading and being a part of the Habitat for Humanity community. [...]
29 March 2021Blog Posts / HousingNational Affordable Housing Network’s (NAHN’s) Mountain Horizons Subdivision is currently under development by Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana. 7 homes have been completed to date and more housing is underway in 2021. The Mountain Horizons subdivision offers unparalleled 360 degree mountain views nestled in beautiful Whitehall, Montana. NAHN and Habitat for Humanity are offering housing opportunities through our Mutual Self Help Housing Program. In this program, families complete 65% or more of their home as part of a build team that works together on one another’s homes.  Whitehall is an enjoyable, growing community that is constantly updating and adding more amenities. Building a home through our Mutual Self Help program is a great way to set up your life in a wonderful small town with beautiful views. Multiple high-performance home designs are available to choose from in a variety of sizes with flexible interior layouts and homeowner’s choice of colors and finishes. Options include carports and full solar energy systems. The Mountain Horizon Subdivision is a signature housing project in Montana. NAHN and Habitat for Humanity SWMT, each with 20+ years of service, and their project partners are fair housing providers. All families or individuals are eligible, regardless of race, disability, age, sex, marital status, family size, retirement status, or religion. If you are interested in building in the Whitehall Mountain Horizons Subdivision start your application today! For more information on the Mountain Horizons Subdivision and Housing Opportunities through NAHN please call our office at (406)782-8579. To apply for available housing in Whitehall or other locations in Southwest Montana fill out our application here: https://www.nahn.com/program-application/  [...]