Habitats first family still grateful

first_imgThere’s no telling what life might have been like for the Johnson family, if not for their Habitat for Humanity home.“This house means everything to us,” said Cindy Johnson, 49. “If it wasn’t for Habitat, there would be no place affordable enough.”Three children were raised here. Numerous relatives and friends in trouble stayed here when they had nowhere else to go.“I don’t think I’d be alive” without the sky-blue, three-bedroom place at the end of Northeast 98th Avenue, said Michael Johnson, 50. He’s endured multiple layoffs for years, and fought drug addiction on and off, too. He’s been clean for four years now, he said, but he’s unemployed and his body is worn down from hard labor. He’s also going blind in both eyes due to glaucoma.High school sweethearts, Michael and Cindy married and started building a family in a poorly ventilated, leaking mobile home in a Battle Ground trailer park when they heard about a new kind of charity homebuilder in the area. They became Clark County’s first Evergreen Habitat for Humanity homeowners.“It’s been a blessing,” Michael said. “I never thought I could own my own home like this.”Decades later, Evergreen Habitat for Humanity just held a 20th anniversary “Toolbox Bash” in Ridgefield to celebrate its modest but solid track record of building 21 new homes and housing 88 individuals, including 56 children, in Clark County. It broke ground Sunday on the seventh and final home at Patten Park, a Habitat development near Five Corners. This year it’s expecting to complete three new homes, according to Executive Director Josh Townsley, and make offers on several more Vancouver properties; it also watched with pride as two of its original homes were resold by owners moving onward and upward into better situations.last_img read more