In 1987, Jerry and Cindy Schultz accompanied their teenage daughter to work on a Habitat for Humanity project. They were so inspired by their experience that, by the end of the next year, they founded South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity with the support and assistance of parishioners from Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd and the Olympia Christian Reformed Church.
It wasn’t long before members from a number of other local churches joined in. Even so, the group was small, with board members serving in multiple roles, including as committee members, office support and construction laborers. The first couple of projects were modest: constructing an addition on a home for a single mom in Rochester, and putting a new roof on another home whose family was in need. Another project involved moving and renovating a house that would have otherwise been demolished. The home was moved to a large piece of property we’d acquired on Fairview Avenue.
With faith and steady commitment, Habitat continued to add homes to the Fairview site until there were five. An additional property was acquired near Black Lake – now the site of yet another Habitat home. In 1996 our affiliate acquired a large property on Fones Road at a greatly reduced price, thanks to the generosity of long-time Habitat volunteer and owner of the property, Virginia Mattson. The property was large enough to locate 10 homes there – the most ambitious project South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity had ever taken on. Such a goal required more management attention and oversight than volunteers alone could provide, so our affiliate hired its first Executive Director, as well as a site manager and a resource development officer. In 2000, our affiliate dedicated these 10 new homes, christening the neighborhood, “Covenant Court.” Habitat International co-founder Linda Fuller was on hand to help us celebrate this accomplishment.
In 1999, South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity acquired additional property in Olympia’s eastside neighborhood. The property, Trinity Court on Miller Avenue, is large enough for six new homes. The first three Trinity Court homes were dedicated in the fall of 2002 and all are now occupied.
The next step for SPS Habitat was The Evergreen Sustainable House. This home won a national award for green building leadership. This is on Brawne Ave in West Olympia near the Olympia Food Co-op. This home uses many built green practices, such as reclaimed products, cork floors, dyed cement and traditional stucco walls. This home was a precursor for our Fairview project.
In April of 2006 we began work on the Fairview II project. This project uses what is called cottage style zoning, with fifteen homes on a smaller lot, with a shared green in the middle. This project is master planed and built green with both long term health of the families and the environment in mind.
To date, our affiliate has created 34 homes for families right here in Thurston County.
In 2002 we acquired Sound Builders ReStore and the Building Materials Drop Off Site to expand procurement activities and raise funds for house construction.
We continue to grow and build and with the support of the community we will be able to maintain this until we reach our goal of zero poverty housing in Thurston Co.