14 Memorable Moments of 2021

Santa Fe Habitat’s year in review.

Thanks to the Santa Fe community, it’s been a fantastic year for local affordable housing. Despite COVID setbacks in supply chains, material affordability, and volunteer capacity – Santa Fe Habitat accomplished its 2021 goals. We successfully repaired 13 homes and constructed six affordable houses in Santa Fe for low-income families in need of safe and stable shelter.

A special thanks to our incredible supporters for ensuring the continuation of this critical community work. We won’t rest until every family is safely housed and can afford to live in the city in which they work and want to live.

We hope you’ll enjoy this year in review!

1) Completed Santa Fe Habitat’s 127th Home

Since 1987, Santa Fe Habitat has been hard at work constructing energy-efficient, affordable, and high-quality houses. We are proud to announce the completion of our 127th house, which is our Habitat affiliate’s first prefabricated project. Students from the UNM School of Architecture + Planning designed the EcoMod house and constructed its skeleton in a warehouse in Albuquerque, which was then shipped to Santa Fe and installed on a concrete foundation in Oshara Village. Our volunteers, staff, and contractors took over the hammer and the house was completed in the fall. Just in time for the holiday season, a single mother, her daughter, and their adorable dogs moved into the new home! They will enter the New Year with a haven to enjoy and an affordable mortgage payment.

2. Hired New Design Build Specialist

We are excited to welcome Jacqueline Ulrich or “Jay” to the team! Jay is a talented designer, as well as a big part of the Habitat family. She served as an AmeriCorps member on our construction team from 2011-2012 and has come back to us, full circle. Thanks to her incredible efforts, our homebuilding progress, permitting, and designs for future Habitat homes are on track. She is gifted at tailoring each home to families’ specific needs and is mindful of environmental impact – her home designs reduce waste and offer design innovation in energy-efficiency.

Thanks for your architectural talents and dedication to Santa Fe Habitat, Jay!

3. Won Three SFAHBA Awards

The Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association’s Haciendas Parade of Homes event ushered in three awards for our nonprofit. We are exceptionally proud of our team for earning the top prize in Craftsmanship, Design, and for winning the inaugural Ted Swisher Green Building Award. It’s an honor to be recognized for our commitment to green building and Net Zero Energy homes. We are proud to see our construction team – volunteers, staff, and contractors recognized for their hard work at Build Sites and for our Design Team’s eco-friendly blueprints.

4. Adopted an Office Cat

This four-legged friend joined the Habitat family this year! We adopted an office cat this spring and after an intensive series of votes, we landed on the name Oreo. While we originally adopted Oreo to be our official mouse hunter around the building, she quickly turned into a beloved member of the team. She now watches over the office, from her five-story kitty tower and makes sure the staff is doing our jobs well. Oreo is famous for jumping on people’s desks and laps, and for stealing our pens during meetings. She has certainly brought light, cuddles, and laughter to our office this year. We hope you’ll come by to meet her!

5. Welcomed Volunteers Back to Build Sites

A core piece of Santa Fe Habitat’s mission is the support of volunteer labor to help us build homes. Our Build Sites were closed to the public for the first five months of 2021. In June, we reopened volunteering to the public with a vaccination requirement and social distancing protocols to keep everyone safe. We feel fortunate that our home-building projects stayed on course, despite months without volunteers. A special thanks to our staff, YouthBuild crews, and volunteers who helped us achieve our goal of completing six houses this year!

6. Kicked off Santa Fe Habitat Young Professionals Membership

In June, we formally kicked off the new membership program and event calendar for the Santa Fe Habitat Young Professionals group. It’s been fantastic seeing young people come together to volunteer and network in efforts to cultivate future donors and housing advocates, to support local affordable housing! The group now has 45 official members, with more who volunteer and attend social events. A huge thanks to this crew of motivated, community-minded individuals who are making a difference in Santa Fe as evangelists of our mission!

7. A Special Volunteer Turned 83

A huge shoutout to long-time volunteer, Elmer Leslie who turned 83 years old in November! Elmer has volunteered at Habitat for 20 years and is a core leader of our “Regs” crew, who spend several days each week volunteering at the Build Sites. This year, Elmer was awarded a Presidential Service Award for his volunteer service. We are grateful for Elmer’s commitment to affordable housing, incredible volunteer work in construction, and for bringing the community together for a great cause. Cheers to you, Elmer, and Happy belated Birthday!

8. Invested in Cutting-Edge Construction Technologies

This year, we explored new home-building technologies. We built our first prefabricated EcoMod home and won a grant from Habitat for Humanity International and Build With Strength grant to build two houses with Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs). Santa Fe Habitat prioritizes innovation in green building technologies and is excited to take advantage of the opportunity to build with this energy-efficient, low-waste, strong, and green product. The ICFs were installed over the course of a week with the help of BuildBlock, the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Chavez Concrete Pumping, and Española Transit Mix. Additional supporters of this project include the Insulating Concrete Forms Manufacturers Association and the American Concrete Pumping Association. This was an incredible collaboration of leaders in the concrete and construction industry to bring awareness to ICF construction.

9. Hosted First Board Retreat in Years

Thanks to the leadership of our nonprofit’s Executive Director, Kurt Krahn, and the Board of Directors, we hosted a Board and Staff Retreat in early December. Participants gathered at the Santa Fe Community College to convene, learn more about one another’s roles in the organization, and map out organizational needs to enhance our communication, mission, and teamwork! It was a fantastic opportunity to network and strengthen the connections amongst leaders in the organization.

10. ReStore Sorted Thousands of Donations

While construction volunteers are hammering away at Build Sites, ReStore volunteers are busy ensuring our thrift store runs efficiently! Santa Fe Habitat relies on ReStore sales to support staff salaries and administrative costs so that every donation from the community goes straight into our housing programs.

Two of our core ReStore volunteers include Barb Hutchison and Sean Curry. Barb is the ReStore’s longest-standing volunteer – she began volunteering with us 20 years and two stores ago. She sorts, packages, labels, and tapes all the hardware donations into sellable packages. This year, she packaged 1590 containers of screws, nails, nuts, and bolts.

Sean is our “Boutique King!” For nearly five years, Sean has staged, curated, and decorated our ReStore Boutique to make sure it’s a fashionable and desirable department to shop. A special thanks to Sean’s merchandising magic and weekly volunteering!

11. Your Giving Made a Difference

Thanks to the Santa Fe community, we raised the funds to allow us to continue building 6-8 homes annually! We are thrilled that Santa Fe Habitat raised our goal of $60K in our second annual Hearts for Homes Fundraiser. We are grateful to the individual donors and corporate sponsors who supported Hearts for Homes, our Winter Annual Appeal Campaign, and who donated to Santa Fe Habitat in honor of our former Executive Director who passed away in the summer, Ted Swisher.

12. Built for Ted Swisher

With heavy hearts, we said goodbye to our former Executive Director, Ted Swisher, who passed away in the summer. We are extraordinarily grateful for the time we had with Ted, as he was an incredible leader, housing advocate, and had deep roots in the origins of Habitat for Humanity International’s founding. In his honor, we hosted two Build Days, where friends and families volunteered and shared stories to celebrate his life. Thanks to all the participants who joined and to Ted’s family for orchestrating the event.

13. Made a Splash in Economic Impact

Santa Fe Habitat makes a tremendous impact on the lives of homeowners by working toward a world in which everyone has a decent place to live. We also contribute to the local economy by creating jobs and purchasing local goods and services. In the fiscal year of 2021, our nonprofit spent over $2.2 million dollars on construction, contributed over $1.8 million to the local economy, supported 25 jobs, and paid over $1 million in wages.

14. Alto Street, Here We Come!

Our Habitat affiliate has been on a quest for land on which to build more affordable houses following the completion of our last homes in Oshara Village. We submit a proposal the City of Santa Fe and our plans were chosen as the winner! We have been awarded 635 Alto Street in the downtown historic district of Santa Fe, where we will build five high-quality, low-energy use homes for low-income families. We will collaborate with B.PUBLIC Prefab to construct these homes and are thrilled to bring affordable housing to this neighborhood.

Thank you for your contribution to our nonprofit’s successes in 2021.

Happy New Year!