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Constructing Relationships: Nonprofits work together

October, 2023

One of great things about Grays Harbor is that people know how to be neighborly, to help each other.

We at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor are currently partnering with Habitat for Humanity Grays Harbor, another nonprofit housing organization, to help build a new home for a retired couple.

Our two organizations have a lot in common – including a goal to see more and better houses and more homeowners in Grays Harbor.

When we learned that Habitat for Humanity’s construction manager had fallen ill, both organizations realized that Pat Beaty, the NeighborWorks construction manager, might be a great fit to fill in to get the job done.

And we were right! The house at 2711 Pacific Ave., in Hoquiam is coming along beautifully under Pat’s direction as project manager.

“The partnership has been going great,” said Darlene Triggs, executive director of Habitat for Humanity. “Pat checks on the job site and communicates with the construction crew to help make sure everything stays on pace.”

Pat agrees that the project is moving along well. “Our combined construction knowledge and contacts have been invaluable in keeping the project moving forward and providing for a quality-built home to emerge,” he said.

At NeighborWorks, our mission is “to develop partnerships in the community between residents, businesses, and government to create safe and affordable housing for all residents of Grays Harbor County.”

That’s one of the reasons we wanted to let folks know about this partnership. NeighborWorks has never viewed the activities of other housing organizations as competition! In fact, a group of local housing executives meet on a regular basis to keep one another up to date on projects underway and identify needs they see in the community.

We even try to support each other with referrals, project information and leverage our relationships with various city departments. For heaven’s sake, there are plenty of needs to go around!

That’s why although we usually spend time talking about our services at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor, we thought this was the perfect time to tell you a little more about Habitat for Humanity here on the Harbor.

About Habitat for Humanity

In Grays Harbor, Habitat for Humanity was established in 2000, having come out of several smaller organizations led by volunteers. These talented and generous individuals included community servant Ray Hodge, who loved to help others with his construction talents, and Dick Brower, who began Christmas in April /Rebuilding Together in this area. What a historic example of organizations working together to form a better organization for the benefit of all.

Habitat for Humanity builds homes for people, with the help of the people who will be living in it, Darlene Triggs explained. She has been with Habitat since 2016, becoming executive director in 2021.

Each homeowner who is 18 years or older is required to put in 200 hours of sweat equity, she explained, which include homeowner education courses.

“When a person helps build their home, they learn many things about their house and how to take care of it. They also learn how to maintain their loan and other finances. They get the joy of knowing that their hard work and dedication were part of the process,” Darlene said.

“The tasks are based on the individual’s experience, comfort and capabilities. If someone is not physically able to build, there are other tasks, such as keeping work sites clean and organized, painting, measuring, etc. There is always a way for everyone to participate,” she said.

Habitat for Humanity has built 19 homes in Grays Harbor County since it began, usually completing about one house each year.

“We are a nonprofit Christian organization that brings families, volunteers and resources together to build simple, decent and affordable housing, and to eliminate substandard housing in low-income areas,” Darlene explained, adding, “Our goal is to help others by giving them a safe and decent place to call home.”

“Having a home is important to people and society because it allows people safety and stability. It also provides stability to neighborhoods,” Darlene said, and the studies back her up!

“People who have homes do not have to worry about housing needs and can focus on other important things such as education, health and wellness, and family. Homes help to relieve stress and worry.”

Darlene said that most people are incredulous when they are selected to have a Habitat home built for them.

“They appreciate the process and everything that they learned along the way. There is no greater joy than to see their faces when they are handed a set of keys to their home, the love and amazement of the family is beyond words.”

Volunteers and donations are always appreciated at Habitat for Humanity, as is shopping at their second hand “ReStore” at 3005 Simpson Ave. in Hoquiam.

For those with questions or donations, Darlene can be reached at (360) 533-8090 or via e-mail at

Eric Bjella is the executive director of NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor, where Pat Beaty is the construction manager. This is a nonprofit organization committed to creating safe and affordable housing opportunities for all residents of Grays Harbor County. For questions about home repair, housing counseling for homebuyers, renters and landlords, homebuyer education and financing, call 360-533-7828, listen to the extension picks that will best help you and leave a callback name and number. Our office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday – Thursday.


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