Sep 11, 2017
Partner Spotlight: Home Builders Foundation
Brenda Ketah of Home Builders Foundation (HBF) likes giving people the opportunity to serve others. As Project Manager of HBF for six years, she does that every day—connecting people to service providers who need help restoring or maintaining their shelters or transitional housing for youth, women and children. HBF has been a Janus partner for many years, leading the Cordero House renovation, the energy retrofit of Buckman House and painting seven of our facilities. We talked to Brenda to find out more about HBF’s work in the community.
What does HBF do?
HBF believes that everyone deserves dignified housing. Since 2005, we have built over 90,000 square feet of shelter space, accommodating over 550 homeless men, women, youth and families with children each year. Working as the philanthropic arm of the Home Builders Association (HBA), we match the resources and expertise of their 1400 members in the local home building industry who are looking for opportunities to help end homelessness with agencies like Janus. For our shelter building projects, we recruit volunteer Builder Captains from the HBA membership who have great connections and partnerships with local builders and remodelers who donate everything from supplies to labor.
The Cordero House renovation— an $800,000 project—was led by Builder Captains from Progressive Builders NW, Lifestyle Homes and Blazer Custom Construction and won an award from the National Association of Home Builders for Best Community Service. Together we arranged for 100 companies to donate over $350,000 in materials and labor. Before the rebuilding took shape, our workers tore the house down to the studs. The new features in the house are a stark contrast from the aging facility before the project. Every room has new walls and floors. An expanded kitchen and living area offers much more space. A rebuilt bathroom includes four sinks and four separate showers. In addition to the renovation, the project included upgrades—central vacuum, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, tankless water heaters and media room.
Buckman House was our first energy retrofit project, led by Builder Captain, Neil Kelly Home Performance. Built in 1906, the 4,600 square foot home old house was in need of overall repair and insulation. Neil Kelly performed an energy audit and it showed that the air leakage rate was almost three times the recommended level. The retrofit included air sealing, insulation, tank-less water heater, lighting upgrades, new energy efficient appliances and updated wiring. One of our Board members who worked for Milgard Windows & Doors asked the company to donate all the windows for the project and HBF raised an additional $10,000 to do lead abatement and basic outside repairs. Neil Kelly also remodeled a bathroom and added an additional one. In addition to the Milgard Windows donation we also worked with Owens Corning to donate the insulation. So we work collaboratively with the partner agency and the community.
What projects are HBF involved in now?
Our latest project is building a fifteen- unit complex for at-risk youth aging out of the foster care system. The project—New Meadows— a partnership between Bridge Meadows, an intergenerational housing complex in North Portland, New Avenues for Youth, Walsh Construction, Home Builders Foundation and Renaissance Homes. Our other big project is building Village of Hope, a facility for domestic violence survivors and their children. The shelter will provide 7,000 square feet with beds for up to 16 guests. We were also able to get $450,000 of donated materials for the project. It is unusual for us to have two large projects at the same time. We typically try to spread out the larger projects with about four to six total projects in a range of sizes over a year.
Are there other ways HBF gives to the community?
We know that there is a huge shortage in the community for construction-related workers, so we created a scholarship fund for students pursuing careers in the home building industry, awarding about $20,000 to qualified students each year. One of these funds is the Gary E. Milgard Scholarship Fund who gave HBF an endowment in 2006 to support high school scholarships We believe this is an important step in keeping the home building industry strong while building the workforce of the future.
We are extremely grateful for the work HBF has done for our youth residences and look forward to seeing the results of their future work. For more information on HBF, go to their website: www.BuildHopePDX.org.
Link to HBF’s scholarship program: