Rising lumber prices impact Wiregrass Habitat for Humanity

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 5:55 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Prices of building supplies are hitting record numbers across the nation.

The increased prices are creating hardships for people wanting to renovate or build a home. The challenge is also affecting non-profits, like the Wiregrass Habitat for Humanity.

“Our main mission is to build houses for people who otherwise can’t afford to build houses. People that are disabled or low income,” said Donna Clemmons, executive director of the Wiregrass Habitat.

The “people-centered” mission is close to Clemmons’ heart. The Habitat typically builds two houses each year for families in need.

This year, however, rising costs of lumber and building supplies are impacting that mission.

According to the National Association of Homebuilders, lumber prices alone have risen by 130% in the since April 2020. That’s not including the costs of other building supplies, like windows, and siding.

“We are able to build only one house this year and we’re kind of slow-walking it because the prices have gone up so much that we don’t want to price out of what the homeowner can afford,” Clemmons said.

Habitat currently has five to six families on a waiting list, who are living in unfit conditions. Those families were chosen among a hundred applicants.

One family has been waiting for four years on their Habitat home. Due to those rising supply costs, Clemmons says there is no timeline on when their new house will be built.

“If we build a house for $80,000 now, its going to cost $100,000 to build it. And so that’s money we could put on another family. So we’re trying to wait but at the same time, we’re trying to be conscientious of the fact that we know these families are waiting and that they’re living in conditions that’s not just ‘I want a new house.’ It’s conditions that are not safe for them,” Clemmons said.

The non-profit relies on donations to help raise money for projects. Clemmons says during the pandemic, those donations just aren’t there.

“We get a lot of the building supplies from the companies around Dothan when they have overstock, at the end of the month or the end of the quarters. This time they’ve not been able to bring anything to us because they have no overstock and everything that they have, they have to use,” Clemmons said.

If you have extra lumber or supplies, the Wiregrass Habitat for Humanity can use it. All you have to do is take it by their store on Montgomery Highway.

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