After more than a year and a half of work, the Clark County Habitat for Humanity Store held its grand reopening on Friday. While the store never closed, it now has new leadership, improvements to the facility, updated hours of operation and increasing investment in customer experience.
“We’re really excited to bring people back into this space, and hope that they are excited about some of the changes that we’ve made,” said Heather Cochrun, community outreach manager. “We really want to be more intentional about our store.”
Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization working in communities across the U.S. and in approximately 70 countries. The Evergreen chapter, through its homeownership and home repair programs, helps provide families with affordable housing in Clark County.
The Clark County store, at 10811 S.E. Second St., is a home improvement and donation center that sells new and used furniture, home decor, appliances and building materials to the public at discounted prices. All of the proceeds from the store, according to Cochrun, go back into those support programs.
“Our housing needs have just quadrupled,” she said. “It’s just so expensive. Rent, being able to afford a home and creating that wealth through homeownership is unattainable for so many families.”
When the Clark County store opened in 1991, Cochrun said it was an all-volunteer, small organization. Portland partners managed the store because of its size. As the store began to grow, management became local. Now all proceeds are returned to just Clark County.
Cochrun said she’s excited for future endeavors for the store, such as supporting the city’s interest in sustainability. Evergreen Habitat for Humanity operates an advanced recycling center, which is run by volunteers and accepts metals, plastics and wood that would otherwise go into the landfill.
The metal recycling program raises almost $50,000 a year, according to Cochrun. Habitat for Humanity strives to partner with families to build stronger, more disaster-resilient and energy-efficient housing in the wake of climate change.
Evergreen hosts several other local projects such as Geometry in Construction, which is in partnership with Evergreen Public Schools. The program allows students to apply math and geometry skills they learn in the classroom to construction — students build homes from subfloor all the way through the framing and roofing stages.
Cochrun said it’s important to have resources like these in Clark County.
“We’re just a puzzle piece in what we sort of see as Clark County’s housing continuum,” she said. “We hope that we’re the end goal for permanent, affordable opportunities. We hope homes in the community will stay permanently affordable for families.”
“We’re really excited to have this grand opening and to see this increased investment,” she said. “I can’t wait to see what that can do for our ability to build and repair even more homes in Clark County.”