Playhouse Build Program Launch

Introducing our Playhouse Build Program

With the Playhouse Build Program, our goal is to build joy in our community. Each event brings together creative volunteers and generous donors to create a place local children can imagine, play, and call their own. Play is an essential part of child development, and creative play in a safe, dream-inspiring place instills confidence and joy in the hope of our community’s future: our children.

Our playhouses are built from a customized template developed by Habitat SLO County’s Jim Harper. The simple design makes setting up these playhouses easy, while creative touches such as swinging shutters, shingled roofs, and a large door–coupled with the unique paint decorations–make the homes feel special for each child.

The finished playhouses are donated to local families or organizations, or may be resold in our ReStore.

March 25 Playhouse Build Event

Our Playhouse Build Program was officially launched on March 25 at the Octagon Barn in San Luis Obispo. Over 25 volunteers, staff, and supporters came together to decorate and assemble three full-size playhouses in six hours. Each team developed a creative design scheme for their house which included flowers, bugs, clouds, and stars, alongside festive and vibrant colors.

You can view one of these completed playhouses at “Build With Us” on Thursday May 4 at The Penny SLO before it is donated to the Tom Maas Clubhouse for the Boys and Girls Club in Paso Robles. The two other playhouses were donated to the San Luis Coastal Unified School District Adult School Parent Participation preschool playground.

2022 Legislation Prioritizes Housing in California

$250M+ CalHome Program Funding Secured

In 2022 Habitat for Humanity San Luis Obispo advocated for Governor Newsom to apply part of the nearly $100 billion state budget surplus toward investments in affordable housing throughout the state. Together Habitat California, a coalition of California-based Habitat of Humanity affiliates, the California Building Industry Association, and the California Association of Realtors, along with 250+ other coalition members across the state, sought to secure funding through the California Homeownership (CalHome) Coalition.

The CalHome Coalition seeks to secure funding that increases the affordable housing supply by providing grants to local public agencies and nonprofit corporations like HFHSLOCO. CalHome programs include first-time homebuyer and housing rehabilitation assistance, and homebuyer counseling and technical assistance to ensure low- and very-low income households can become and remain homeowners.

Our advocacy efforts paid off when $250 million was approved for the state’s CalHome program in the 2022-2023 budget, with a promise of an additional $100 million for the 2023-2024 budget. This victory will ensure development of affordable homes throughout the state, and support HFHSLOCO’s work in revitalizing local neighborhoods, preserving existing homes, and building affordable housing.

2022 Housing Production Legislation Wins

Habitat for Humanity California supported four bills which Governor Newsom signed into law this year.

  • AB 2217, sponsored by Habitat California, requires the California Department of Housing and Community Development to consider setting higher per-unit total project allocations based on local development costs when appropriate. The bill also requires the department to consider adjustments to the maximum unit and project allocations for each new round of funding for new construction of homeownership units. This is a huge win for affordable housing in San Luis Obispo County where the cost to build a new home can easily exceed $430,000, and the average home price is over $909,000.
  • AB 1933 expands the existing Property Tax Welfare Exemption to include other non-profit builders that construct owner-occupied units for low-income buyers, and it does not prohibit the homebuyer from paying a low-interest rate on their mortgage. Non-profit owners operating with the primary purpose to build and rehabilitate single or multi-family residential units will now see their properties fully exempt from property taxation on liens occurring on or after January 1, 2023 through January 1, 2028. This will increase the supply of affodable homes as more builders are incentivized to construct and rehabilitate affordible homes, and homeowners will not be disqualified from obtaining valuable property tax exemptions.
  • AB 2097 prohibits any public agency from imposing a minimum automobile parking requirement on any residential, commercial, or other development project, so long as the development is located within one-half mile of public transport or in neighborhoods with less car use. This bill prioritizes people over cars and paves the way to build more affordable units with need-based parking requirements rather than a one-size-fits-all parking mandate.
  • AB 2234 introduces an online application system for postentitlement phase permitting in some jurisdictions, and establishes time limits for review of such permits. The law requires that examples of completed permits for at least five common types of housing development projects be made availbale to all applicants. This act will improve accountability and efficiency when permitting housing, bringing permitting into the modern age and creating the opportunity for affordable housing to be permitted more quickly.


Spotlight on Volunteer Pat Crowe & Homeowner Selection Committee

Homeowner Selection Process

One important step during a Habitat building project is the Homeowner Selection, which is supported by a very special set of volunteers. Once homeowner applications are reviewed to confirm the preliminary requirements for partnership with Habitat have been met, a home visit and interview by one of our trained and dedicated homeowner selection committee (HSC) volunteers is scheduled. This home visit is designed to allow Habitat to gather more information about the family’s housing need, their ability to repay an affordible mortgage, and their willingness to partner with Habitat.

While committee volunteers do not make the final decision in the homeowner selection process, they provide an invaluable service by getting to know prospective partner families and identifying any support needs if they are selected.

The heart of successful interviews

This summer we completed the application and selection process for our nine home project on Vine St. in Paso Robles. At the heart of successful applicant interviews are the volunteers, like Pat Crowe, was a remarkable addition to the HSC and brought with her valuable experience, as she served on the committee during our last build project. Pat has a unique vantage point since she collaborated with our last group of partner families from application to moving in. We are so appreciative of her contributions, and for the many years she has been a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity SLO County.

Read more about our interview with Pat below.

Pat Crowe: Local Realtor and longtime Habitat volunteer

Q: What do you love about Habitat?

A: Having been a local Realtor for the past 40 years, I know firsthand how costly it is to live in our County. Rents are extremely high and homeownership is out of reach for a large percentage of our population. It delights me that Habitat gives families possibly their only opportunity to go from being renters to becoming homeowners.

Q: What was the highlight of your experience as a volunteer?

A: There are two highlights. The first is when I have the opportunity to meet with each family in person. Because they never imagined they’d have the opportunity to become homeowners, listening to their personal stories and their dreams of homeownership is extremely touching.

The second is attending the ceremony when the families are handed the door keys to their very own homes. Their joy at entering the homes that they helped build is hard to put into words.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is new to volunteering with Habitat?

A: Be compassionate, genuine, and open minded. Give yourself the opportunity to sincerely “tune in” to the families’ stories so they are left feeling cared about and welcomed.

When asked to describe herself or her interests, Pat was proud to mention she and her husband have a diverse, multi-cultural family, and remarked that she joined the HSC in 2006. She also identified herself as authentic, compassionate and open-minded, and our experience serving local families alongside Pat confirms she displays all of these attributes and more. Thank you for your scincere and generous commitment to the residents of San Luis Obispo County through the programs of Habitat for Humanity, Pat!

ReStore SLO Celebrates One Year on Broad St. with Sale Aug. 5-6

In August of 2021 we reopened our ReStore South at a brand new location: 2790 Broad Street. Following the closing of our ReStores due to the pandemic, this opportunity to start fresh at a new location brought on new opportunities and a new chapter for our organization.

On August 5 and 6 we are celebrating our one-year anniversary at our new location with a store-wide sale. Our entire store inventory will be up to 30% off and customers can expect great deals on everything from tools and home repair items to home furnishings. The ReStore will be open from 10am-5pm on August 5 and 6.

In addition to home repair items such as doors, windows, sinks, and appliances, our new ReStore also carries furniture such as gently used couches, tables, chairs, and more.

All of our inventory is generously donated by donors throughout our community.

Recent Projects & News

Meet the 2022 Bank of America Student Leaders

Through a partnership with Bank of America, HFHSLOCO welcomed two summer interns to our office on June 15. Adriana and Clara are both entering their senior year of high school; one student attends San Luis Obispo High School and the other attends Paso Robles High School. During their eight-week internship with us, the interns will receive hands-on experience in our ReStore, with our office staff, and with our Board of Directors, and they will complete both an independent and a group research project. Both projects are designed to expand the intern’s knowledge of affordable housing and of homeownership in our county.

The group project involves a combined effort by HFHSLOCO full-time employees and the interns and the goal is to update our ReStore donation guidelines for 2022. The interns will improve education and training materials regarding items our ReStores can accept, providing donors with alternate location sites, and providing our volunteers a guide to utilize during their shifts.

For their independent projects, Adriana is researching the impact of housing stability on children’s education. Clara will report on the ways increasing community awareness could benefit a small non-profit like HFHSLOCO.

The interns are attending the Board of Directors meetings scheduled during their stint with us. They are also meeting with each of our team members to learn how non-profits operate, focusing on the of the ins-and-outs of our organization.

In her spare time, Adriana volunteers at the local historic museum, and enjoys reading and baking for her family and friends. In Clara’s spare time, she volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters and enjoys biking, reading, and watching the morning news.

We are proud to offer local high school students the opportunity to serve their community through the HFHSLOCO and Bank of America summer internship each year. Join our mailing list to receive announcements about future internship opportunities.