Holiday 2017

Date: 18 Dec, 2017

News Flash

The Valatie Passive Houses are finished! Josh & Renee have completed their First Time Homebuyer’s training and, in both cases, well exceeded their 300 hours of sweat equity or volunteer hours on the project. Both families have applied for their affordable mortgages and hope to be in their homes in the near future. Keep an eye out for the announcement for the Home Dedications, it will be coming soon.
Our heartfelt thanks go out to our professional partners, BarlisWedlick Architects, The Levy Partnerhip, and Proper & O’Leary for their continued support; the Friends of Valatie, many volunteers and community groups, businesses, faith groups; and our partner families, Josh, Omisha and Renee for their camaraderie and extraordinary volunteer work.  You are each and all an inspiration and make it possible for us to provide affordable housing in Columbia County.

A Special Thank you to our Valatie Crew

We are immensely grateful to have had the best volunteer crew around working on our Valatie homes. Led by Site Supervisor John Livingston, Ron Tanner, Richard Moran and Ron Springer showed remarkable dedication and fortitude, working an average of 2-3 days a week for over a year on almost every aspect of construction.  They worked closely with construction manager Don Hills, providing instruction to other volunteers and homeowners on subjects ranging from the use of power tools, Passive House construction techniques, floor installation, painting and more. We couldn’t be more thankful to have them in our Habitat family. Thanks guys!

Service Spotlight: Emanuel Lutheran Church

Napoleon is credited with the saying that an army marches on its stomach; our experience suggests that volunteers are cut from the same cloth. Thanks to the members, families and friends of Emanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church who prepared hot lunches, soups, sandwiches, cookies and other food delights once a month for the full term of the Valatie construction project. Volunteer attendance was often higher on “lunch days” as was productivity in the afternoons. Thank you for keeping volunteers happy and ready for a full afternoon of construction.

Saving the Day: Bill Stratton Building Company

What do you do when weather is closing in as are fast approaching deadlines? That was the case recently in Valatie as we were racing to complete the homes for a certificate of occupancy inspection. We called Bill Stratton and asked if he could help us finish the porches on the houses.  Bill has been a fine home builder in Columbia County for over 20 years and was the first developer / builder of Passive Houses in Columbia County. He served as an advisor, and lent a volunteer crew for the window installation, on our first Passive Houses in 2013. Once again, Bill generously sent over a crew to help out. His crew did an amazing job and we hope to see more of them in the future!

The Dirt: Landscaping in Valatie

Founding partner of BarlisWedlick Architects, and avid gardener, Dennis Wedlick aspires for his houses to link with nature and the streetscape through modest, easily cared for gardens. Dennis recently partnered with local landscaper Joe Dwileski and tree professional Tom Butcher to actualize a garden plan for the Valatie houses. The initial plant material, crabapples, an elm tree, boxwoods, hydrangeas and euonymous have been installed with bluestone walkways. Dennis, Joe & Tom donated services, equipment, labor and materials for the project. Community garden clubs have agreed to come in the spring to plant perennials, most of which will be “pass-a-long” or divided plants from local gardens. Thanks to this team for its skills and creativity and for inspiring others to be part of the gardening team. The gardens look wonderful.

WomenBuild New Lebanon Coming Soon

In 2018 Columbia County Habitat will launch its project in New Lebanon. The project will coincide 25th anniversary year with a WomenBuild rehab with the 10th anniversary of the first Columbia County WomenBuild project and is co-chaired by Joyce Lapenn, Sara McWilliams and Janis Smythe, all WomenBuild alums and former board presidents of Columbia County Habitat. The dynamic trio has organized Honorary and Steering Committees; the first friend and fundraising event is scheduled for January 18, see below. Local builder Anthony Murad
is assisting with site preparation; it is hoped that volunteers will be on site in late January.
Opportunities to volunteer (planning, fundraising, construction, crew leaders, etc) are open now, contact For those interested in serving as crew leaders or learning basic, non-code related, construction skills, there will be a training session on Friday, January 12 from 3 to 5PM at the Questar/BOCES facility in Hudson
Reservations for training session are requested.
For more information contact

Handbags for Habitat – January 18

The first event supporting the 2018 WomenBuild will take place on January 18th from 6-8pm at Meissner’s Auction House in New Lebanon. Guests may take part in an auction of slightly used, new, and vintage handbags. Wine and refreshments will be available. Come shop your favorite designers and have fun!
$10 entry fee can be paid in advance or at the door. Every ticket holder will receive a $5 credit towards a handbag.
Snow date is January 25th.
To buy a ticket or donate a bag, please call Alex at 518-828-0892.
Reservations Recommended.

Welcome Board Member and Treasurer: Robert Patterson

Robert Patterson is a Certified Public Accountant who resides in Hillsdale with his family. He graduated Cum Laude from The College of Saint Rose, with a degree in accounting. He gained his experience in Governmental and Non-Profit accounting by working with multiple municipalities throughout New York over the past ten years. Robert expanded his practice as a consultant in Massachusetts and has recently opened his tax preparation services to individuals, corporations, and partnerships throughout New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
Robert says he is honored to serve on the Board of Directors and “looks forward to making a difference in the community with Columbia County Habitat for Humanity”

New Management @ Hudson ReStore : Store Manager Hannah Benga

It gives us great pleasure to announce the arrival of Hannah Benga, the new ReStore Manager. Born and raised in Rhinebeck, Hannah graduated from Ithaca College with a BA in Anthropology and from Clark University with an MA in International Development and Social Change. She was a member of the Peace Corps from 2010 to 2012 and has worked for a number of not-for-profit organizations, most recently the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill.
Executive Director Brenda Adams notes ” We are excited and proud to have someone with Hannah’s skills, experience and commitment join our ReStore team. Hannah will continue to improve the ReStore experience for customers, volunteers and donors”. We hope you will come in, say hello, and take advantage of the great December sales.

Welcome Aboard Tim

Joining the ReStore team as a Sales Associate right in time for the holiday rush is designer and artist, Tim Ebneth. Originally from NY, Tim moves up to the area six years ago. He has a strong design background and has previously worked as a set designer for numerous magazines. His paintings have been shown locally in several galleries around Columbia and Greene Counties.

Tim is looking forward to meeting and connecting with customers, so come in and say hi!

Event Recap: Affordable Housing Round Table and the Rural Build

In late November the New York Young Farmer’s Coalition, BarlisWedlick Architects, Columbia County Habitat and Scenic Hudson partnered to conduct a discussion of housing needs for the agricultural economy in Columbia County and the upcoming Habitat Rural Build in Ancramdale. Over thirty people attended including local farmers and owners of farm related businesses, representatives of the design and building community, from each of the sponsors and the Columbia Land Conservancy.

Habitat was asked to talk about its program and its plan for the Rural Build homes that will break ground in Ancramdale in the spring. A robust discussion ensued about the various kinds of housing needed in the agricultural community and potential partnerships. We hope this

will be the first of many conversations.
For more information about the Rural Build, contact Brenda Adams at

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