NeighborWorks® of Grays Harbor contributes to the community conversation on housing issues through a weekly column in the Daily World titled "Nailing it Down."

 

 Since 1999, the "Nailing it Down"articles have been published in the Daily World and other countywide weekly newspapers. NeighborWorks® of Grays Harbor County has collaborated with local newspapers, elected officials and local experts to publish articles covering hundreds of topics.

 

 

Nailing It Down

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During this unprecedented time, each of us has been affected in such different ways. For many, employment and wages have diminished or stopped all together. However, for some businesses and jobs, things have been busier than ever.

While some are scraping to get by right now, some are able to afford to re-invest into their home and their local economy. 

If you have a building job that you’d like to tackle this summer, if it’s in your budget, the work would be welcome to area contractors. It’s that kind of investment that gets money circulating in our community again.

Before you get going, make sure you use a written scope of work and written contracts. We at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor can help you – free of charge – with some basic examples to get you started.

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Whom should I hire?

Our county has plenty of solid, talented and trustworthy builders—and right now many of them are especially eager for steady work. However, sadly, we do hear evidence of some who are neither trustworthy, nor c...

While heating your house may not be at the top of your mind right now, this is a great time to look into a new heating system. As you may know from past columns, we are big fans of ductless heat pumps, which both heat and cool a home.

What you may not know is that people who electrically heat their homes and are income-qualified may be able to receive a new ductless heat pump installed into their homes free of charge! This is thanks to the No Cost Ductless Heat Pump program sponsored by the Grays Harbor PUD, which is administered through us here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor.

           

Cheap alternative for heating, cooling

Before we get to the specifics of who might be eligible, give us a minute to tell you why we love heat pumps!

For starters, our climate is one that is well suited for heat pumps. In Grays Harbor, a regular outside heat pump and inside air handler/furnace is often an efficient way to heat a house. The technology of a...

Summertime is the time for so many home maintenance projects from cleaning your gutters and inspecting your roof to washing or painting your house.

While we’ve mentioned it in recent blogs, it’s been a while since we really concentrated on the importance of ladder safety. So here we go!

When working “up” not only does one need to have the proper equipment, but it’s also key to have the right know-how as well.

Ladder stand-off is a must

Whatever chore that takes you up on an extension ladder – gutter cleaning, roof inspecting, house painting – it opens you up to one of the most common causes of severe fall trauma. People tend to lean out too far to one side – to get that last little area without moving the ladder – which can make the ladder slide sideways and down you go!   

However, before talking about the dangers at the top of the ladder, we’d like to start at the beginning – the ground.

Safety begins with solid, level ground for each of the ladder’s legs. Sometimes you have to modify...

Now is a great time to give your deck a little attention.  You are more likely to find weather-friendly days now and you can look forward to spending time with friends and family!

In fact, a deck can be a great place to have a socially distanced visit if you need to. Hopefully soon, your deck can be used while you host larger gatherings!

  

Safety comes first! Your annual deck inspection

The first point of inspection should be the way the deck is fastened to the house. What you want to see is the hex-heads of bolts staggered along the deck’s rim joist, which is attached through the siding into the rim joist or framing of the house.

If you only see nail heads, you will want to consult with your contractor or building official for a complete deck inspection. The installation of lags or bolts doesn’t have to be expensive, but there may be other things that need to be done.

For example, decks built closer to saltwater tend to have more problems and sooner. That salty air makes anything made...

So far 2020 has been an interesting year, to say the least!

While many things about our day-to-day life with the coronavirus are out of our control, when it comes to your house, you have the power to start and complete many chores and projects now that will make an immediate improvement ahead of summer, and may even lengthen the life of your home.

           

Take a good look at winter’s impact

The cold, rain and wind of fall and winter – as well as UV light all year around – can do a number on your house. So, take one of our brighter days to take an assessment of what needs to go on your “to do” list for this spring and summer.

As we mentioned last week, homes in this climate need to be repainted about every five to seven years depending on the type of paint used, the quality of the prep work, the type and condition of your siding and trim, maintenance cleaning and how close you live to the salt water, among other things. 

We recommend annua...

From cleaning closets and attics to washing houses, fixing fences, staining decks and putting in gardens, it’s clear that many of us are using our sheltering at home time during this pandemic to improve our homes.

Of course, we are all for that! In fact, we here at NeighborWorks might be able to help you in some very practical ways. Read on!

Transfer station open

If, like so many, you’ve either cleaned out closets, garages and attics or plan to soon, you may already know that as of right now most charities are not open to receive donations. So, after you call and confirm this, you’ll need to store those boxes of reusable items a little bit longer.

However, the good news is that the stuff that just needs to be thrown away, you can still take care of now. The LeMay Transfer Station, which is now located at 29 Gavett Lane N., Montesano, is available to take your junk. It’s open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Look them up online or call (360) 53...

At all times, being able to live in safe, decent housing is a key factor for health.  And, when the top medical and governmental agencies have us all on a “stay at home” order, it’s nice to have some place to hunker-down. That same order, however, has presented many with unemployment issues that have reduced or eliminated the very income needed to pay rent, mortgage and monthly bills.

Even for folks who outright own their home but are not working, it can be a struggle to pay for utilities, taxes and insurance.  The same goes for landlords when their rental income is reduced or stops altogether. That landlord still has to pay for all city utilities, garbage, insurance, taxes and often a monthly mortgage payment.

When those expenses don’t get paid, the municipalities and companies that provide and maintain necessary services often don’t get paid creating new negative economic spirals with more people getting laid-off and more services reduced,  adding to health risks for all of us. We are...

Like just about everyone, because of the coronavirus, doing business and living life are looking different for us here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor.

As a nonprofit organization that works to provide safe, affordable housing opportunities for people of Grays Harbor County, we are as committed as ever to help clarify renter and landlord issues, to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, to support homebuyer education with counseling, to make loans for home purchase and repair, and to qualify residents for free ductless heat pumps. But all these activities require contact for both you and us.

           

Going to Work Looks Different

We have been spending the last two months social distancing and primarily working from home. However, we are also changing our physical office to create a safer and more efficient workspace for what we believe will be a very busy time for all of us, again.  

Changes we have made in our office at 710 East Market...

Last week we talked about various programs designed to help folks pay their mortgage during the financial impact of COVID-19. Today, we’ll concentrate on information that renters and landlords need to know during these unprecedented times.

The basic message is that because of various governmental actions, renters in most all situations should be able to stay in their homes or apartments regardless of their ability to pay.

Once again, we turned to Julie Galligan, our housing counselor here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor. She’s working hard to keep up with all the latest COVID-19 related financial programs and has several practical tips.

“This is such an unusual time for our society with so many people out of work, so many businesses shut down and so much uncertainty. Even once the economy gets going again, many people will struggle to pay their rent for a while,” said Julie.

However, Washington State has enacted a moratorium that provides protection to renters through June 4 so they can’t...

April 27, 2020

The devastating economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic are hitting hard here in Grays Harbor County, affecting each of our lives each day.

Even many folks who had a bit of an emergency fund for a financial buffer are beginning to find themselves in a difficult situation as unemployment soars, businesses close and many organizations are forced to go on hiatus.

Can’t pay your bills?

So, what do you do if you can’t pay your bills?

Today we’re talking with Julie Galligan our housing counselor here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor. She’s working hard to keep up with all the latest COVID-19 related financial programs and has many very practical tips.

“The recession of 2008 was very difficult,” said Julie, “but what we are experiencing now is on a whole other level. This is just wiping everything out economically from the bottom to the top. It’s a whole different economic crash.”

Before we get into some details of what you can do, we want you to hear her over-arching advice for those who are...

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