Portlanders turn to nonprofits for affordable building materials

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While the rising cost of building materials is hurting some nonprofits, some are also helping people save money on supplies while getting help in return.

PORTLAND, Ore. – As increased demand and supply chain disruptions continue to impact the price of building materials, these rising costs are beginning to impact some nonprofits . Now, some of these nonprofits actually help people save money on building materials and, in turn, get a big hand.

One of these organizations is habitat for humanity. The non-profit organization helps needy families buy affordable new homes that they help build themselves, alongside volunteers.

The non-profit association Restore locations in the Portland metro area are selling make a donation, recycled building materials, household appliances and housewares to the public at a very favorable price. The money earned is used to build houses.

“The price of building materials is out of control right now,” said Steve Messinetti, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity in the Portland area. He’s fully aware of the increase — it means homes cost between $30,000 and $50,000 more to build for the nonprofit. Right now they have just over 100 houses under construction for local families.

“We set up their mortgages so that their payment would not exceed 30% of their income,” Messinetti said. “So in this case, even if the houses cost us more to build, Habitat will absorb those costs.”

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Messinetti hopes increased fundraising efforts will help offset these additional expenses. He is also encouraged by the record sales of the past two months at Habitat’s ReStores.

Another non-profit organization offering discount building materials is the reconstruction center on North Mississippi Ave. Since 1997, the nonprofit has helped keep landfills free of reusable building materials like doors, windows, and plumbing fixtures, while making them affordable for customers. Prices are about half the cost of new materials. Money earned supports the ReBuilding Center workforce programs and community education efforts, including home repair courses.

“Despite the fact that we might raise our prices because prices are rising everywhere, we don’t because we’re a nonprofit organization,” said Jackie Kirouac-Fram, executive director of the ReBuilding Center. “We are committed to making our materials as affordable and accessible as possible.”

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The ReBuilding Center receives donations of wood, but Kirouac-Fram said they never keep it in stock for long.

“He flies out the door,” she said, adding that they were looking volunteers to remove nails from salvaged lumber so it is ready for resale.

“People are hungry for cheap wood.”

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