Habitat move-in date nears

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SNOQUALMIE - The first residents of Habitat for Humanity of East King County's blitz-build houses may be able to move in this weekend.

Habitat for Humanity of East King County Executive Director David McDaniels said he is very confident the first set of residents will be in by Sunday, Nov. 11, with the rest moving in by Thanksgiving.

"The word 'guarantee' is too strong a word," McDaniels said. "No one is as eager to get them in as we are, but its hard to guarantee a date."

"There was a serious dearth of volunteers after the blitz," said Katharine Warderdam, a future Habitat resident who hopes to move in with her husband and four children later this month. "It's hard to get volunteers when the weather is like this."

More skilled laborers have volunteered the past couple of weeks, however, to complete the finishing details on the houses, including plumbing and wiring.

McDaniels said the blitz build was a learning experience, as enlightening as it was enthralling. Although the Oct. 1 date for the first residents to move in has passed, McDaniels remains confident the project was a success.

"We did not get as far as we hoped during the blitz," McDaniels said. "We had a bigger list of those things that needed to be done by experienced people than we had hoped for."

McDaniels attributed some of the delay to the complexity of the build. None of the houses built at the site had been constructed by Habitat before, and many of the volunteers were new to the experience.

"In my mind, that's a positive," McDaniels said. "These were not just cookie-cutter houses."

McDaniels said the next blitz build will use skilled labor more wisely and divide up the labor force so it is not overextended on a single day.

"We have to create a bigger window during which we need to accomplish those skilled tasks," McDaniels said. "We don't want all the highly skilled workers to appear on Wednesday."

More Habitat houses are slated to be built in the new neighborhood in the next few years, bringing the total number of houses up to 50. There are no plans yet, however, as to when construction on them will begin.

You can reach Ben Cape at (425) 888-2311, or e-mail him at

Much of the work to construct the 21 houses occurred during the blitz build, a two-week project in August that involved more than 3,300 volunteers from across the nation. It was the biggest Habitat endeavor ever staged in the Northwest.

When the workers left, however, so did a lot of the attention that drew skilled volunteers. Several jobs, including installing metal roofs on the houses, remained unfinished, and future residents worried that the work done during the blitz build might wash away with the coming rainy fall season.

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