Building Strength and Stability

Just six weeks ago, I became the executive director of Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity. I accepted this position with a humble heart and a sincere commitment to serve Habitat’s mission. As a mother, I know firsthand the strength and stability that a safe, secure home gives to a family. Like you, I share Habitat’s vision: A world where everyone has a decent place to live. This vision is a challenge, however, and we have much good work to do to help our neighbors build and buy affordable homes and affordably repair and maintain the homes they already own.

This week’s home dedication, my first, was a joyous, emotional event and the highlight of my Habitat life thus far. It brought home all that I have learned in the last six weeks. As our 201st homeowner Khalilah said, “Habitat is an exceptional organization.” We are! We are a strong, mission-driven organization. Our homeowners, volunteers, friends, and staff are passionate, generous people who serve with kindness and enthusiasm. They want to be part of a just community that cares for one another, that works together to make a difference. I do too.

I look forward to meeting you and to working by your side to bring our shared vision to life.

In the spirit of home and community,


Charlie Robertson


Come to Our Habi Hour Mardi Party, Fat Tuesday, Feb. 28

Celebrate Mardi Gras with Habitat for Humanity all in one big, fat Habi Hour, February 28, 5:01 p.m – 8:30 p.m. at the Cityscape Event Center, 125 S. Kalamazoo Mall. Buy your tickets now to the best Mardi Gras party in town. This year’s Habi Hour will feature New Orleans style music courtesy of The Brass Rail, Kalamazoo’s very versatile brass quintet, habi-tizers, and Big Lyle’s Mardi Gras photo booth. This year’s live auction, facilitated by fun and fast auctioneer Tim Bos, includes a Grand Hotel getaway and golf package on Mackinaw Island and a week-long Leelanau Peninsula color tour. You can bid on an amazing selection of silent auction items, too.

Purchase your tickets online at www.habitatkalamazoo.org or at our Gull Road office or Habitat ReStore in Portage. (*Please note: Processing fees apply if paying by credit card; all credit card transactions must go through our website.)

Let the good times roll on Fat Tuesday, February 28!

Got Stuff? Build a Habitat home!

Your old couch, refrigerator, washer or dryer can help build a Habitat home in our community. All you have to do is donate it to the Habitat ReStore! Just call the Habitat ReStore, 269-381-5523, to schedule a free pickup. All proceeds from the sale of donated items at the Habitat ReStore, located at 7612 S. Westnedge, Portage, help Habitat build and repair homes.

Think Habitat ReStore if you are relocating, remodeling, redecorating or reducing your personal inventory. If you can fit your items in your vehicle, you can drop them off during store hours, Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. The drive through loop at the rear of building makes donation drop off a snap.

Don’t forget to shop the Habitat ReStore – we are an affordable home improvement store and we are open to the public. Volunteers are welcome too. Follow us on Facebook: Habitat ReStore Kalamazoo/Portage or visit www.habitatkalamazoo.org for more information.

Energy-Efficient Rehab Will Be New Home for
201st Habitat for Humanity Family

It took 320 volunteers more than 1,891 hours to rehabilitate a small house on Kalamazoo’s Eastside, but it will take just one Habitat family – our 201st -- to make it a home. The future homeowner has contributed more than 400 volunteer “sweat equity” hours to help build this home and has completed more than 30 hours of financial literacy and personal financial management classes and more than 27 hours of homeowner maintenance training.

Before this house was a Habitat home, it was a high school classroom for 27 high school students enrolled in the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency’s Education for Employment (EFE) Construction Trades program. Habitat purchased the original house, built from a kit in 1949, from the Kalamazoo County Land Bank. The students renovated the house during the 2015-2016 school year under the direction of Habitat staff and EFE instructors.

Each year, through the construction or full remodel of a Habitat for Humanity house, EFE students learn valuable aspects of the construction trade -- from site preparation and layout to carpentry, electrical, masonry, plumbing, heating, drywall, painting and other skills. This is the second rehab project KRESA students have completed with Habitat on Elder and a third is underway this year. Construction Trades is just one of 34 different EFE programs offered through KRESA.

Additional Habitat for Humanity volunteers also contributed their time and talent to the project. Volunteers groups included Habitat’s regular Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday crews, and groups from the WMU Medical School, Kalamazoo Growlers, First Presbyterian Church of Kalamazoo, FOCUS Kalamazoo, Greenleaf Hospitality, Stryker, and Phi Gamma Delta, to name a but a few.
The newly rehabilitated home is approximately 950 square feet and includes three bedrooms and one bath. It is a rare Energy Star® rehab. By using the latest in energy saving materials and methods, such as spray foam insulation, thicker framed walls, and air-sealing, the home requires less than half of the heat that would be provided by the smallest gas furnace on the market today. It is heated and cooled by a heat pump. Other energy-sipping features like a hybrid water heater, Energy Star® appliances, and compact fluorescent light bulbs, should help make the home very affordable to operate. Indoor air quality is enhanced by a heat recovery ventilator. The home will be EPA Indoor airPLUS certified.

Home Expo Volunteers Needed

Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity will support the Home Builders Association of Western Michigan at the annual Home Expo and Garden Show in March. We need volunteers to help greet visitors and sell tickets on the first two days of the show at the County Expo Center. We need volunteers on Thursday and Friday, March 9 and 10, for short shifts each day between the hours of 11:45 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. This is a great activity for a small group, club, troop, student or civic organization or small business. Each volunteer will receive one free admission to the Expo upon request. Some of the jobs require standing and others can be done while seated.

To volunteer, contact: Ann Kilkuskie, 269-344-2443, ext. 206 or email: akilkuskie@habitatkalamazoo.org.