Habitat for Humanity home was a blessing for single mother of five

Single mothers with five children may not get many breaks in life. It’s work and scrape, to put food on the table and a roof over kids’ heads.

Kristin Wood received the help she needed to sink roots in Everett at just the right moment in her life. Wood and her five children were selected to be a Habitat for Humanity of Snohomish County family.

Habitat for Humanity offers folks a chance to put “sweat equity” into their own homes. Habitat for Humanity of Snohomish County promotes home ownership with volunteers building houses in partnership with those in need of adequate housing.

In 2001, “my husband and I had a very painful ending to our 17-year marriage,” Wood said. “We had five children ranging in age from 5 to 15.”

She moved with her children into her parents’ home in Lynnwood, a temporary fix at best.

“Our lives were so disrupted,” she said. “We needed to realize that we were still a family and could be healthy and strong in our relationships together. I started looking around for our own place to live, but financially, it was out of reach.”

In 2002, her parents went to a gospel concert that was a benefit for Habitat for Humanity. They encouraged their daughter to check out the Snohomish County program.

Wood got on a waiting list and kept digging for other housing options.

A year later she slogged through a mountain of paperwork.

“Some weeks later, I received a call from Mary Fears, the Habitat executive director, congratulating me on being selected as a new partner family,” Wood said. “It was a long process, but we started the build on our home the first Saturday in August 2004 and moved in exactly one year later in August 2005.”

She will tell her story at a Habitat for Humanity of Snohomish County wine-tasting and volunteer recognition event, DeVine Intervention, at 7 p.m. May 5 at Everett Historic Theatre at 2911 Colby Ave. in Everett.

“DeVine Intervention is a play on words,” Fears said. “With over 10,000 households in Snohomish County meeting the income limits for Habitat for Humanity assistance, we feel it urgent to increase our aid.”

Fears said sometimes it seems that divine intervention is necessary. They are in the enviable position of having more volunteers than they can use effectively because they lack funds for building materials.

“What we need now is cash to purchase materials to keep these volunteers busy,” she said.

Wood, who earned a master’s degree and works at the Boeing Co., will talk glowingly about Habitat volunteers.

“It was an amazing process, and we are forever grateful to the many hundreds of volunteers who helped build our home,” Wood said. “Some people just came once, others were there nearly every week. It took a whole year of Saturday work parties, and now we have a most wonderful little house with a very affordable mortgage.”

Her children are Karissa, who studies at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Seattle; Kaitlin, who is graduating this year from George Fox University in Oregon; Caleb, 19, who studies at Edmonds Community College; Chloe, 18; and Courtney, 14.

The family pays about $600 per month for their mortgage.

Todd Bullock designed their four-bedroom home, donating tens of thousands of dollars of his time to Habitat for Humanity.

“He was able to make it unique while keeping within the Habitat mantra of simple, decent housing,” Wood said. “He named the house ‘Phoenix,’ which was very fitting.”

Her home was built on the footprint of the previous home, which burned down.

“He named this one Phoenix with the idea of life rising from the ashes,” Wood said. “I thought back to the first days of single motherhood and remembered thinking at the time our family felt like it crumbled and burned.”

Folks giving their time, talent and treasures sent a message to her children that they were worth the effort. It provided a stable place to come home to everyday where they felt loved and protected.

“There is nothing like home,” Wood said.

Upcoming event

Habitat for Humanity of Snohomish County offers a wine-tasting and volunteer recognition event, DeVine Intervention, at 7 p.m. May 5 at Everett Historic Theatre, 2911 Colby Ave. in Everett. Pave Specialty Bakery will provide refreshments. For reservations, call 425-258-6289. Their website is www.habitatsnohomish.org.

Kristi O’Harran: 425-339-3451, oharran@heraldnet.com

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