Providing a foundation for Compassion House
October 2, 2008 · Updated 10:57 AM
NORTH BEND - While some people may be known to bring the house down, John Day is happy to be known as one who can bring the house up.
The North Bend home builder and founder of John Day Homes is building the foundation for what will be a transitional house for women and children in Issaquah, the latest move he's made as president of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties' Care Foundation. The foundation, started by Day five years ago, has helped build five similar projects at locations in Bellevue, Kirkland and Renton.
The Issaquah home will be the new location for Compassion House, a transitional housing program started in 1997 by an Issaquah church. The program has partnered with the city of Issaquah to buy or lease homes for a nominal fee to be used as transitional housing for families in crisis.
The ministry was leasing its present location in Issaquah, but that house and property needed to be used for a city park project. The city did own a house, however, that was scheduled for demolition to make way for another city project. That house was donated to Compassion House. Not too long afterwards, a two-lot site was donated just a few blocks away near the intersection of Second Avenue and Southeast Andrews Street. The four-bedroom house was moved to the site last winter and was set on blocks. The rest of the renovation will involve setting the house on a foundation and redesigning the inside into a duplex. It may seem like a lot of fuss compared to just constructing a new home, but it was less expensive than building a new home in Issaquah. Nate Knight, project manager for Compassion House, said the overall cost of the project on the private market would be hard to estimate, but he said the county assessor's tax assessment on the site alone was $150,000.
"It has been awesome to see this come together," Knight said.
Day became involved with the Compassion House project through the foundation's Home Aid program, which specializes in helping build facilities for temporary housing organizations. Day signed on to be the Compassion House project's captain, and started to enlist the help of other people in the construction business to complete the project. He gave presentations to subcontractors and ended up having the full cost of the project donated.
One of the last things to be sorted out, however, was one of the most important. A soil study at the site revealed that it was not stable enough for a home, so a new foundation was needed.
"In construction, whatever can go wrong, will go wrong," Day said.
Day fronted the cost for the foundation, however, and it is presently being constructed. The donation saved the project about $32,000 and got it one crucial step closer to being completed on schedule by the end of the summer.
Day said that on any given night, there are 9,000 women and children living in their cars or on the streets in King County. For an area as affluent as this, Day said, there is no reason that number should be so high.
"That is an appalling statistic," he added.
* For information about Compassion House, call (425) 392-4910 or visit www.compassion-house.org.