Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity challenged by soaring lumber prices

Lumber prices have soared over the last year, costing nearly 140 percent more in 2021 when compared with this time in 2020.  

That price increase is hurting organizations like Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, where staff say they may not be able to build as many affordable homes.  

 "What keeps me up at night is thinking are we able to do enough to meet the need in our community right now?" said Cathy Lawrence, who serves as the Chief Development Officer. "There was already a housing crisis before COVID-19 across the country, particularly in Minnesota."

Across the region, the local Habitat for Humanity builds and rehabs up to 60 homes a year for families in need.  

And now with lumber prices up, due in part, to an increase in demand and wildfires, that number could decrease by nearly 10%.   

"Assuming it remains high like it is, from a bottom-line perspective, it’s over a million-dollar hit in lumber just for the build season," Chad Bouley, the Chief Real Estate Officer, tells FOX 9, adding that could impact the homes for at least six families.  

But the cost of lumber is just one hurdle.  

"The other big challenge is delays in building products," said Bouley. "We’re working with well over 20,000 volunteers [hours] per year and when you can’t align delivery materials with those volunteers, that has a dramatic effect." 

But despite these challenges, the Habitat for Humanity Twin Cities remain optimistic.  

The best way the community could help is by lending a hand when it’s safe. 

"Keep an eye out on when we can have volunteers," said Lawrence. "When the governor says we can open back up the state, we’re going to want volunteers to come back out and help us do our work."  

Visit Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity online by clicking here.