Habitat for Humanity builds a home for mom and daughter

Rose Tosh stands outside her new home. The Habitat for Humanity volunteers are building her new house in a week. - Michaela Marx Wheatley / The Record
Rose Tosh stands outside her new home. The Habitat for Humanity volunteers are building her new house in a week.
— image credit: Michaela Marx Wheatley / The Record

GREENBANK — It’s just a frame, the skeleton of a home, that rose this weekend at Teronda West in Greenbank, but 6-year-old Chloe can already picture her room.

It’ll be cream colored and have a jungle-themed border. Most importantly, it will be the first room that she can call her own.

The team for Habitat for Humanity is building it for Chloe and mom Rose Tosh in a flash as part of the Home Builders Blitz 2008, a partnership between professionals in the residential home building industry and Habitat for Humanity affiliates. The groups are teaming up to build affordable homes across the nation.

Tosh said seeing her future home rise so quickly is almost overwhelming.

“It’s beyond words to own my home. It’s really a perfect home for a single mom and a little girl,” she said.

The construction workers began working at 7 a.m. Saturday and in the afternoon a frame was up and rooms were taking shape on the inside.

“These guys have worked non-stop since 7 o’clock,” Tosh said. “They’ve worked so hard.”

Tosh’s home is a part of a unique event. It is being built during a week of blitz building across the United States that started May 31 and runs through June 7. A total of 263 homes will go up across the United States with the help of more than 1,000 building industry professionals.

Four homes will be built in Washington and two of those four will be built on Whidbey Island.

The north end home will be sponsored by the Skagit/Island Counties Builders Association under the direction of Yonkman Construction. Tosh’s home will be built on the South End by local contractors under the direction of Bob Dalton of JBL Construction.

Tosh will move into the home later this month and, just like her daughter, she has big plans.

“When I move in — I always wanted a brick-red wall. I’ll have fun with that,” she said.

“The best part is probably to have a kitchen again. I haven’t had a kitchen in a year,” Tosh said.

As a single mom, she has faced challenges many families face on the South End — housing isn’t cheap.

Tosh said she struggled finding affordable housing on South Whidbey where she had grown up, but she didn’t want to live in an apartment with her little girl all of her life. She knew about Habitat for Humanity, but she wasn’t sure if she would even qualify for a home.

“I was a little apprehensive to try because I didn’t know enough about the program,” Tosh recalled. “But I am a prime candidate. I have a job and I can pay for my mortgage.”

Tosh, who works at Sebo’s Do-It Center at Bayview, said it has been fun because many of the workers on her home are regular customers and she has known them for years. Now, they come by the store to ask her where they can find things that will go into her new home, she said.

Dalton said it wasn’t hard to find helpers for the project.

“We have in excess of 100 trades people working,” Dalton said.

“We asked around and everybody is pretty much doing it for Rose,” he said. “We’re just giving back to somebody who deserves a house.”

While the construction workers do the lion’s share of the work, Tosh has to put 250 hours of sweat equity into her home and find volunteers who can chip in another 250 hours of assistance.

The Home Builders Blitz was started in 2002 by Tom Gipson, a professional home builder in Raleigh, N.C., who supported Habitat for Humanity’s efforts to eliminate poverty housing in his community. Gipson rallied other local builders for a home-building work blitz, which was so successful that Habitat for Humanity International decided to promote it as a nationwide event.

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