Navigating the coronavirus pandemic has been challenging for the construction industry, and many of our customers were forced to lay off their staff due to the stay-at-home order that put a pause on residential building. While regular building lulls, some construction companies have taken this opportunity to dive into volunteer work and give back to their communities. We recently featured Tenhulzen Painting & Construction’s Heron Park bridge repair, in which the Tenhulzen team donated their time to rebuild two bridges in Mill Creek. Today, we’d like to highlight another company doing great work amidst the global crisis, Woodcrafters Construction. To tell you more about the project, we're welcoming Woodcrafters Owner Travis Spikes to the blog. Take it away, Travis!
Through securing a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, Woodcrafters Construction was able to put our eight-person field staff back on full payroll during the stay-at-home order, and our managers were looking for ways to give our carpenters additional training and work they could do while at home. As a way to also give back to our community, we reached out to Seattle’s Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) to coordinate building tiny homes for those in need.
The people at LIHI were thrilled with the idea of getting multiple tiny houses built at once, especially since the demand for tiny homes has risen during the pandemic. Most tiny houses are built by volunteer groups one at a time over the course of many weekends, but those groups stopped volunteering due to the stay-at-home order. The Woodcrafters Tiny House Initiative keeps building going by allowing our carpenters to build a tiny home from start to finish in their driveways in compliance with social distancing guidelines. After a house is completed, LIHI sends out a flatbed tow truck to pick up the home and deliver it to a tiny house village in need.
Using funds from the PPP loan, Woodcrafters was able to provide free labor to build the tiny homes, but the materials for each house cost roughly $2,500 to $3,000—so a fundraising effort was needed to make this plan work. Woodcrafters put together a GoFundMe and reached out to past clients, vendors, subcontractors, and friends in order to raise money for the tiny house materials. The fundraising effort has generated over $13,500 to date, including a substantial donation from local Cub Scout Pack 144, but that still wasn’t enough to build the 10 to 20 tiny houses Woodcrafters had set as a goal.
To solve this issue, we reached out to Dunn Lumber to see if the store would be interested in partnering on the project. Dunn Lumber kindly provided material packs at cost and delivered them directly to the homes of Woodcrafters carpenters. This heartening donation has provided the materials for seven tiny houses so far at a fraction of the normal price. Woodcrafters was also able to get donated and at-cost materials from some of our other partners and would like to thank Manor Hardware, Vogel’s Carpet & Flooring, Phinney Ridge Cabinet Company, Sherwin-Williams, Targa Homes, Superior Insulation, and Phinney Ridge Painting. We're thankful to all of our partners for helping us give back to our community and keep our staff working.
Thanks, Travis! We’re so proud to be involved in a project like this, especially during this time of uncertainty brought on by COVID-19. It’s more important now than ever before to help our community stay healthy. Providing people and families experiencing homelessness with a safe space to rest and take care of themselves is a key step to preventing the spread of the virus while taking care of our most vulnerable—tiny homes give residents a safe start on the path to reclaiming their dignity and being able to support themselves.
For more information on the work Woodcrafters is doing or to donate to their cause, visit their GoFundMe. And to read more about some of our customers, check out this post on Gaspar’s Construction’s involvement with Rampathon, this article on how Irons Brothers Construction navigated the beginning of the pandemic, and the story of Dunn Lumber and the Joe Rantz boathouse.