Habitat for Humanity in Billings is feeling the effects of the nationwide lumber shortage, through the increase in building material prices.
Jim Woolyhand, executive director for the organization, said Monday that it is not sustainable to be able to build homes at the current inflated costs of materials.
“Thirty-six thousand dollars is what we have budgeted. Exactly one year ago, when we approved house number 87, that lumber package was only $12,500 along with lumber,” said Woolyhand.
Woolyhand said that these costs increase do not stop with lumber. He adds that drywall, hot water heaters, and almost all necessary materials that go into a home is costing the organization more money.
Tim Hayes, construction superintendent for the organization, said that the current building prices are unlike anything he has ever seen.
“Eighteen to 20 years ago, I think the cost of OSB (oriented strand board) went up from $8 a sheet, to $25 a sheet. Now, it went to $65 a sheet. I have never seen anything like it,” said Hayes.
Hayes said that the one thing people in the community can do to help is donate.
“It just costs us more to build them and you have to figure that into their (homebuyer program participants) mortgage,” said Hayes.
To help offset the cost, Woolyhand said last year’s playhouse fundraiser was brought back.
The same people who build homes, including volunteers build a kid’s playhouse in the form of a train, equipped with a slide, stairs, trapped doors, and controls for kids to pretend they are driving.
To pay for the material used to build the playhouse, Holiday Station stores along with other community donators gave $4,000 toward the project.
The playhouse will be completed Thursday. Tickets will be on sale for the months of June and July until it is raffled off Aug. 7 at the organization's Family Fun Day event.
Although the playhouse alone will not cover the costs of each home set to be built for the winter and fall months, people participating in the homebuyer program through Habitat for Humanity said they are committed and willing to wait for their future home.
“I am very proud to be here with Habitat and I know my family wants to help build the house. There are memories that you can have while you're sitting in your house and think, I really did this myself,” said Onna Brady, a future homebuyer.
For information on how to enter the raffle, visit the Habitat for Humanity website.