Ladies take lead on next Habitat home

All-women crew will build house for Bastidas family

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What: Fundraising efforts include a concert by Grammy-winning guitarist Doug Smith and his wife, Judy, who plays the flute.

When: Sept. 30.

Where: Fries Auditorium at the Washington State School for the Blind, 2214 E. 13th St.

Cost: Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Beacock's Music, online at www.ehfh.org and at the Habitat office, 521 E. 33rd St.

Information: Donations for the project also are being solicited at the website and the office.

What: Fundraising efforts include a concert by Grammy-winning guitarist Doug Smith and his wife, Judy, who plays the flute.

When: Sept. 30.

Where: Fries Auditorium at the Washington State School for the Blind, 2214 E. 13th St.

Cost: Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Beacock’s Music, online at www.ehfh.org and at the Habitat office, 521 E. 33rd St.

Information: Donations for the project also are being solicited at the website and the office.

Women, dozens of them, will change the life of the Bastidas family with their hands and their tools.

They are building them a house.

It’s another Evergreen Habitat for Humanity build, and all the work will be done by women.

Sunday marked the blessing of the land and groundbreaking at 1027 W. 39th St. in Vancouver’s Lincoln neighborhood.

“We’re very excited,” said Desere Bastidas. She said the family of four has been renting a small apartment in Fisher’s Landing.

“We pay about $900 a month in rent. It’s ridiculous,” she said.

When told the average Habitat house payment is $450 a month, Desere exclaimed, “I just got a raise.”

Habitat builds houses for working families and offers no-interest loans. Families are required to provide sweat equity. Desere works at a WinCo store and her husband, Miguel, works for a collection agency. Their children are Arianna, 4, and Aleeysa, nearly 2.

“This is holy ground we are standing on,” the Rev. Julie Reinholz said at the groundbreaking.

Different project

Usually, a large company donates the bulk of money for the builds. This project is different.

Evergreen Habitat board President Susan Riley said all the money will come from donations. She said Kaiser-Permanente has donated $8,500 and philanthropist Ed Lynch gave $5,000, but two-thirds of the costs still must be covered.

“We have to go out and get this money, and we need help,” Riley said.

The 1,170-square-foot house will have a Cape Cod design and will sit on a lot donated by the city of Vancouver.

When they call it a “Women Build” project, they mean it. Many volunteers took classes at Lowe’s, which supports “Women Build” projects.

The architects are Sharon Manley of Manley Architects and Susan Mangin, who has her own firm. The interior designer is Andrea J. Little. The structural engineer is Anne Anderson. The volunteer crew leader is Michann Bond.

There have been 1,400 “Women Build” Habitat houses constructed across America. Evergreen hopes to have one “Women Build” project each year.

The Bastidas family will have a mentor couple, Brenda and Jim Tiefenthaler, who live a few blocks away. Brenda served on the Evergreen board for six years and she and Jim have been involved with Habitat for a decade. The couple will offer help and advice throughout the project.

Asked to speak at the groundbreaking, Desere attempted and then broke into tears.

“They’re tears of wonderfulness,” Riley said.

Moments later, Desere said, “There are no words. It’s giving my kids stability, a future. It’s giving my kids things I didn’t have growing up.”