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Local Habitat for Humanity group receives thousands in gifts

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Attendees at a recent Willamette West Habitat for Humanity fundraiser donated $375,000 to the organization, allowing them to build nine new homes in Washington and Clackamas counties.A local Habitat for Humanity group is celebrating after it raised hundreds of thousands of dollars at its most recent fundraiser.

Willamette West Habitat for Humanity, a Hillsboro-based affiliate of Habitat for Humanity, builds homes for families in Washington and Clackamas counties.

Habitat builds homes for low income families, which they sell at no profit, with no down-payment and financed with 0 percent interest mortgages.

Willamette West has served more than 100 families since it was incorporated in 1988. But that number will be getting quite a boost after it received $375,000 from patrons at a fundraiser held during May in Tigard.

"It was a number that left staff at first speechless, then grinning wildly as they realized that six families could escape their sub-standard living conditions and purchase homes build using those funds," Willamette West said in an email to local media.

More than 500 people attended the event, held at Embassy Suites, 9000 S.W. Washington Square Road, in Tigard.

At the fundraiser, families from Willamette West’s previous builds were on hand to tell their stories about how the program has changed their lives.

One young woman — a Kosovo refugee — is now a freshman at Beaverton’s Health & Science School. Another told the crowd that she was able to purchase an energy-efficient Habitat home, which gave her family more money for things such as food and heat.

According to Willamette West, one family at the dinner matched any money donated up to $25,000.

Another donated $180,000 to the organization after hearing the speakers.

Willamette West usually builds homes for three families a year, due to limited funding. This year’s fundraiser will allow them to double that number this year.

“Every year, we are amazed and humbled by the generosity of our guests,” said executive director Mark Forker. “This year was no different. People come from all over the Metro area to start their day inspired by our families. They get to meet those whose lives are forever changed because of their gift. It’s a powerful, emotional day.”