Habitat for Humanity Dedicates Home to Single Dad


Get to know the Cascia family, click the image for a video

November 15, 2016 (MONTROSE, CO) – Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans announced this week the completion and celebration of their 51st house within their service area of Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel counties.

The non-profit organization is inviting the community to the dedication celebration at the home located on 230 Bluegrass Court in Montrose on noon on Tuesday, November 22.

This latest build was made possible thanks to donations to Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans, the DreamBuilders Club (a monthly giving subscription program offered by the organization), ReStore sales and numerous volunteers that took part in the project.

Now the house is complete, homeowner Mike Cascia, who contributed 500 sweat equity hours to building his home, will be taking up residence and paying the mortgage. Cascia, a single dad, is already looking forward to the weekends and summers when his son, Matthew, will visit from Durango, where he is currently studying Business Management at Fort Lewis College.

Since 1991, Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans has offered affordable non-profit mortgage loans and home repair assistance. They are currently looking for applicants for housing projects in Ridgway and Montrose.

To learn more about the Cascia Home dedication on Tuesday, or about how to donate, volunteer or apply for a housing project, visit

ReStore Customer Appreciation Day July 9, 2016

LogoMontrose, CO. (July 5, 2016) —The Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans ReStore, 1601 N. Townsend Ave. in Montrose, will host a Customer Appreciation Day from 9 a.m. to 4p.m. July 9.

Customer Appreciation Day at the ReStore means greatly reduced prices, (including up to 75% off furniture items), Bag Sales (as much clothing, hardware, knick-knacks, books, crafts or glassware you can fit into a bag for $3); free lunch; games; and two pallet painting workshops with the Junk’n Sisters.

The event is an opportunity to move inventory, raise money and give back to the customers who support the ReStore’s mission throughout the year, according to Colleen Burke, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans.

“It’s our favorite day of the year here,” said Brandon Costello, ReStore manager. “Some of our customers are already coming in to scope out what they’ll be back for on Saturday,” he said.

Last year Customer Appreciation day raised $7,500 for the local Habitat chapter. This year, according to Costello, the goal is $10,000.

Junk’n Sisters workshops are $35 and include materials. Junk’n Sisters are donating 20% of their proceeds to Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans.

Habitat for Humanity ReStores are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more to the public at a fraction of the retail price.

ReStores are independently owned and operated by local Habitat for Humanity organizations. Proceeds are used to help build strength, stability, self-reliance and shelter in local communities and around the world.

Space for workshops is limited, RSVP here, and to volunteer or to learn more about Customer Appreciation Day call 970-252-9304 or email Danielle Goldman at

Habitat Executive Director Recipient of Leadership Award

Colleen (2 of 6)

Habitat Executive Director, Colleen Burke

Montrose, CO. (July 7, 2016) —Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans today announced that executive director Colleen Burke has been named the recipient of the 2016 Leadership Award for her contributions to the mission of Habitat for Humanity.

Each year Habitat for Humanity Colorado issues the award to an executive director who best represents that year’s theme. This year’s request was for leaders who embodied a quote by football legend and Habitat for Humanity advocate Jimmy Johnson:

“Treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat him as what he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

Burke was presented the award in April along with a $500 donation to Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans, which she has overseen since 2012.

Burke’s tenure includes many milestones including the expansion of the service area to include not only Montrose county but also Ouray and San Miguel counties; the San Juan Independent Film Festival, which raises funds for housing projects; a critical home repair program; the Dream Builders campaign, which incentivizes donors to commit on a monthly schedule; and earlier this year, the completion of the organization’s 50th home construction project.

“Colleen’s hands-on leadership and creative fundraising is an inspiration to us all here,” said Alison Hunter, Office Manager and Executive Assistant at Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans. “It’s nothing short of astounding how much we’ve been able to accomplish as a team,” she added.

Burke grew up in the region graduating from Montrose High School in 1989. She is a graduate of Fort Lewis with a degree in Marketing and Economics. Her entire career has been dedicated to the non-profit sector including efforts promoting Sonoma Valley Wineries and later, working in economic development, promoting the small business and tourism economy Utah.

Burke has taken the lessons from those experiences and the mentors along the way to focus now on making affordable housing in the San Juan Region an economic development discussion. “Building affordable homes in rural Colorado is a much larger economic engine than people may think. Habitat spends nearly 90% of our construction dollars with local companies, we employ 15 locals and the purchase of an affordable Habitat home gives hard working families the stability they need to be great citizens of their communities,” said Burke.

“We’re so fortunate to Colleen’s tremendous character, energy, and capabilities,” said Wil Harmsen, who serves as president of the local Habitat chapter’s board of directors.

“Staff, homeowners, volunteers, donors, and supporters of Habitat have thrived under her leadership and she certainly advances our mission to provide local families a decent and affordable homes,” he added.


Moonshiner’s Ball 2016


June 24, 2016 (MONTROSE, CO) – Throughout prohibition era, you couldn’t swing a dead cat in the San Juans without hitting a moonshiner. And he probably would have hit you back. Those men who brewed the white lightening were of a certain burly ilk. It’s easy to imagine too that they knew how to let loose.

Once again this year the Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans will look to revive the old raucous and rowdy spirit of the moonshiners of yore for their fourth annual Moonshiner’s Ball at the Habitat Barn on August 13 from 7p.m. – 11p.m. The fundraiser is sponsored by Bank of Colorado and will feature gourmet cuisine, gambling, a silent auction, music by Sarah Wiley and Hannah Gill & The Hours, a live auction variety show, a full bar and of course moonshine!

“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year, last year we raised enough money to complete our 50th Habitat home for a local family,” said Colleen Burke, Habitat’s executive director.

“It’s also one of the best parties of the summer anywhere,” she added.

Guests can come in era dress, or however they please. “The moonshiners would have preferred it that way,” said Burke.

Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans is a locally owned and operated affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. They serve Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel counties. Over the past 25 years the organization has empowered 50 local families to help build and move into their own homes.

Tickets for the Moonshiner’s Ball are expected to sell out fast and are available at an early-bird price June 24 here. Funds raised will go directly towards ongoing housing projects to connect local families with decent, sustainable and affordable housing.

Uncommon Athletes


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Benefits of Volunteering

Giving our time and effort to help others can feel wonderful. We get to see the immediate impact of our work. We watch a wall go up, we clear a field of litter, we enjoy the smiles of the people we help and work beside.

While each of those seems like reason enough to volunteer, there are additional benefits to giving your time. The people you help might not be the only ones to gain from the experience!

Here are just some of the great benefits of volunteering, proof that even more good comes from doing good.

Get a new job.

Volunteering can help you make the transition to a new field. Giving your time and talent in support of a nonprofit’s day-to-day work or serving on a board can lead to a new career, according to Next Avenue, a public media service for the 50-plus population. That kind of involvement also is a great tool for younger workers. Volunteer experience strengthens any resume, and professional networking website LinkedIn even includes a section for highlighting your volunteer work.

Get a better job.

Seeking a promotion? Corporate volunteering programs give employees an opportunity to shine. As the Stanford Social Innovation Review has reported, “Through service learning, today’s corporate volunteers are becoming tomorrow’s corporate leaders — with great potential to impact the decisions they make on behalf of their company.” Interested in that kind of personal and professional growth? Encourage your employer to explore team building through an organization like Habitat for Humanity, or broaden your network through participation in a Habitat Young Professionals group.

Live longer.

A recent article in the Guardian asked the question “Is it time for doctors to prescribe volunteering?” The answer might be yes! Research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health indicates that “people who volunteered spent 38 percent fewer nights in the hospital” than non-volunteers, and this Atlantic article citesadditional findings that volunteers of all ages enjoy better health, more stamina and lower stress levels. With Habitat, you’ll find plenty of those satisfying moments that make volunteering such a spiritual lift. And swinging a hammer or mixing cement is good exercise!

Learn something new.

Every volunteer opportunity offers a chance to stretch your skill set. With Habitat, you’ll always have the chance to learn something different, sometimes in as little as a single day. Help a family make repairs and improvements to their existing home or get instruction on how to use a new-to-you tool on a build site. Learn how to raise awareness of housing issues. Serve on a committee that helps coordinate future homeowner selection, financial education or build-site snacks! No matter how you choose to get involved, if you ever wanted to change the world and see the impact of your efforts, we have a place for you.

See your neighborhood in a new light — or see the world.

Most people think of volunteering somewhere close to home, and there are always ample chances to help make your community a better place to live. But don’t forget that many organizations offer the option of traveling to make a difference. For Habitat, people in your community and all over the world partner with us to build or improve a place they can call home. So you can find local opportunities in your area to work alongside a future homeowner or make plans to travel with a group of Habitat volunteers to a different destination somewhere in the U.S. or in one of the 70 countries where we work.

Build a better story.

When you give your time to help others, the memories you cherish making today can become a part of your new, awesome autobiography. Everyone loves a good story, so make yours the best it can possibly be. With Habitat, enjoy the joyful retellings of the time you helped a family repair a roof on their home, the time you built alongside a future homeowner working to achieve financial stability and more self-reliance, the time you made a difference.

Habitat of the San Juans Launches Critical Home Repair Program

(Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel Counties): Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans kicks off Critical Home Repair Program for Homeowners with Household Incomes Less Than 80% of Median Income.

Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans, in partnership with the Delta Housing Authority, is now offering critical home repair and improvements for homeowners. This program is in addition to Habitat’s existing new home ownership program.

Critical home repair means that the property must have at least one critical need addressed, and then other improvements may be funded. Examples of critical need include: flood, no heat source, roof leaking, window broken, mold, asbestos and radon, accessibility, aging in place updates, foundation issues, heating, plumbing, electrical and structural repairs.

Delta Housing Authority is providing the grant dollars necessary for the projects, while Habitat Family Services Coordinator, Autumn Jones, is accepting applications and walking applicants through the approval process. Loan decisions are made by an independent third party loan committee and are not made by Habitat staff or Board of Directors.

Program Points:

• Grant monies are offered at a low, payback interest rate (1-4%)
• Available to homeowners who are not bankable due to low income levels.
• Income limit required. Household income is less than 80% of County median income. (Median income limits are unique to each county).
• Payment is based on what the borrower can afford.
• The home must be owner occupied.
• Homeowner chooses the contractor.
– Project design and contractor selection: The primary goal is to give the homeowner the highest quality of work for the lowest cost. To achieve this, the bidding protocol is often flexible and informal. Homeowner input and participation is encouraged. Once the best materials and methods are selected, then the contractor is selected.
• Two week average approval period.
• No down payment required.
• Loans are secured by promissory note and a deed of trust.
• Length of loans can be lengthened if necessary to allow for very small monthly payments.

Flower Subaru donates $10,000 to Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans.


From November 20, 2014 – January 2, 2015, Flower Subaru’s “Share the Love” event raised $6800 for Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans and is adding to that amount to donate an even $10,000.

A special check presentation ceremony will be held at Flower Subaru, located at 1760 N Townsend Ave on Friday, April 3rd at 1pm.

Flower Subaru donated $250 to Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans for every new Subaru sold or leased during those dates.

On the National level, Subaru of America, Inc. announced last October that its seventh annual “Share the Love” charity event would set a new donation record. Their National Charities Include: ASPCA®, Make-A-Wish®, Meals On Wheels®, and National Park Foundation.

Subaru of America, Inc. announced it would donate $15 million to charitable partners during its seventh annual “Share the Love” event. In 2013, Subaru donated $10 million to “Share the Love” charities, and over the course of the six year program, Subaru has donated a total of $35 million.

In addition to the four national organizations, Subaru retailers have the opportunity to add a local charity for their customers to support. This year, 608 hometown charities were selected by Subaru retailers. Flower Subaru chose Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans.

With Subaru retailers local charitable giving, total donations were projected to be well in excess of the $15 million committed by Subaru of America. Sales growth experienced by the brand in recent years meant that by continuing to donate $250 per vehicle sold during the program, total charitable contributions would likely increase.

Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans dedicates its 46th home

February 23, 2015 (Montrose, CO)  Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans will hold its 46th home dedication on Tuesday, Monday, February 23rd at 9 am.  The home dedication is free, open to the public and will be held at 127 Bluegrass Court.

The Woods family of three has given 500 hours in sweat equity toward the purchase of their home: through helping with contstruction on their home own, on the homes of other Habitat families, through cooking meals for special events and by many other ways.  Although Habitat homes are subsidized based on household income, homeowners must pay a monthly, interest-free, 30-year mortgage.

The Woods’ family story can be found on the Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans website,  Here is their self-told story:

“Words cannot express how grateful we are for being one of the families selected to receive a Habitat home. I [Maria] would like tell you a little about my family; we are a family filled with so much love, incredible fight and great courage! We are a family of three, the Woods family.

Matthew my husband is an amazing man of courage, perseverance, and passion to leading his family daily. Matthew is now fighting cancer for the third time, which is a battle that began at the age of 17 for him. It’s a very rare cancer that starts in his skull and has traveled to his brain. He has had many major surgeries of removing the skull and replacing it with muscle from other parts of his body, which has left him with some inabilities, yet he continues to fight with great courage daily. The love for his family and his passion for Christ give him the strength and drive not only to conquer each day but to lead his family. He has been a true example for Micah (our son) of a warrior. Teaching him to never to give up, never lose heart, and to finish the race.

Micah is a gift from God who has an incredible heart and the ability to make people laugh. Even through all that we have been through as a family, Micah’s character shows stronger than the circumstances, and at the same time still being a kid. A mother couldn’t be any prouder.

I, Maria Woods, am so proud to write of these amazing men God has given me. Between being a wife, mother, and caregiver, I also work at Teen Challenge House of Promise for women recovering from addictions through the finding of Christ. This past year has been pretty hard for our family with surgeries, chemo therapy, school and work, but the blessings that have been freely given to us have encouraged us, increased our faith, and strengthened us.  Blessings of family, friends, continuous prayer, and the great blessing of receiving a home have been acts of love that have been life changing.  A dream both my husband and I had, yet knowing it wouldn’t be possible, but through Habitat, our dream has come true. So, we say thank you to Habitat for Humanity, thank you to all the volunteers, and thank you to all the donors for you are changing lives. You are building up faith, giving hope, encouraging, comforting, and expressing true love.  I can’t express how you’ve impacted and changed our lives.

You have become our miracle, and to you I say with tears in my eyes “Thank you so much”. To those out there who are thinking of donating, please do and become the miracle for families, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, and children. Be their miracle and their hope, for that is what Habitat, Habitat volunteers, and donors have been for us, the Woods family.” – Told by Maria Woods

Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans has an ongoing open application process for Habitat homes. For more information about the home application process, go to  Although not free, Habitat homes are subsidized on a sliding scale for families meeting the income requirements, which are 30-60% of the area’s median household income.  Qualifying families give at least 500 hours in volunteer work with the local Habitat affiliate in order to close on their home.

Over the past 23 years, Habitat for Humanity of Montrose County has empowered 45 local families to help build and move into homes of their own.  Habitat for Humanity is always in need of volunteers to help with construction, special events and at the ReStore.  To volunteer, please contact Meg Lowery at

To learn more about Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans go to, like us on Facebook at, email Development Director Heather Zeilman at, or call 970-252-9303.




Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans dedicates its 45th home


CONTACT: Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans Executive Director

Colleen Burke 970-252-9303

 January 20, 2015 in Montrose

Montrose, Colorado:  Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans will hold its 45th home dedication on Tuesday, January 20 at 119 Bluegrass Court at 9 am.  The home dedication is free and open to the public to attend.

For the last year, the Ryser/Kasamis family of five has donated 500 hours in sweat equity toward the purchase of their home.  Although Habitat homes are subsidized based on household income, homeowners must pay a monthly, interest-free, 30 year mortgage.

“It’s a common misnomer that we are giving homes away for free,” shares Executive Director, Colleen Burke.  “The reality is that homeowners must meet minimum and maximum requirements in order to qualify and eventually close on their home.  It’s also a misconception as to WHO are families are.  Great fits for Habitat homes are young teachers, police officers in the early part of their career.  We serve families, single parents and some families are single adults with no children.”

In addition to sweat equity hours that each family must dedicate prior to closing on their home, there are income requirements as well.  Families in Montrose County must have a household income between 30-60% of the County’s median household income.  For example, it is suggested that a family of five have an annual gross income that is less than $38,600 and greater than $19,350 to be eligible for a Habitat home.  There are also debt ratio requirements and a background check prior to approval.

“We say this a lot because it’s our mantra – we provide a hand UP, not a hand out – and we stick to it,” explains Burke.  We are able to work with families based on their unique situations, especially when it comes to the volunteer hour piece.  We have families who have members with physical limitations that mean they can’t physically work on their home.  So, we find something else for them to do, whether it be helping at the ReStore, helping out at events, etc.  One of our families has a gifted videographer and his talent has proved extremely valuable to us, while also providing him with the hours he and his family needed.”

Crowd funding for each Habitat family’s home under construction takes place live at the H4HSJ website  There are two other families whose homes are being completed and donors can go directly to the site, read the family’s stories and give there.  Because H4HSJ is located within an Enterprise Zone, cash donations receive a 25% tax write off at the State level and an additional 25% at the Federal level.

Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans opens the home application process each year in December – January.  The last open enrollment closed on January 7, 2015.  For more information about the home application process, go to

Over the past 23 years, Habitat for Humanity of Montrose County has empowered 44 local families to help build and move into homes of their own.  Habitat for Humanity is always in need of volunteers to help with construction, special events and at the ReStore.  To volunteer, please contact Meg Lowery at

To learn more about Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans go to, like us on Facebook at, email Development Director Heather Zeilman at, or call 970-252-9303.