Hard hats for humanity
Carpenter's Ball benefits affordable housing
Cathryn Marie slept on her couch for six years before becoming a homeowner last November.
“I used to sleep on the couch in our old apartment because I gave the kids their own room,” Marie said. “You get used to it, and when we first moved into the house I slept on the couch for the first couple nights, but now I love my room.”
Marie is a single mom with two children. She spent two years building her own home with the help of countless volunteers and Routt County Habitat for Humanity.
Habitat’s annual Carpenter’s Ball on Saturday night will help raise money to build more houses like the duplex Marie now calls home.
“Everybody is talking about affordable housing, and it’s on people’s minds and lips,” said Jeffrey Weeden, president of Routt County Habitat for Humanity. “There is no one who is building homes as affordable as Habitat is.”
Routt County residents who make 30 to 50 percent of the average income in the county can qualify for a Habitat home.
“That’s most of us, including nurses and teachers,” Weeden said. “We all qualify because we live in a wealthy community.”
Routt County Habitat for Humanity does not have any paid staff and operates entirely by the work of volunteers and board members.
“The heart and soul is the people coming out and swinging hammers, and the board is the nuts and bolts,” Weeden said. “It only takes a small commitment to leave a legacy of change.”
Marie and her family, friends and volunteers literally built her house from the ground up.
“We installed windows, hardwood floors, cabinets, built the walls and did the siding,” she said. “And everything that we did, we had help with. All of the churches came out and participated, which was huge and a lot of fun, too.”
Marie can look at any part of her house and know who did it and when.
“I wouldn’t change a thing. It was just an incredible experience for everybody involved,” she said. “And I’m so excited because the next house is going to be built right next to mine, so I get to do it all over again.”
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Emma Harmon, of Durango, is pictured with journals she has kept about her mental health challenges. She said Axis Health System would not help her when in crisis. “The way things seem to work there, you’d actually have to have killed yourself before they’d meet with you.” | Jerry McBride/Durango Herald