Contributed by Mark Turbak
Twin Cities Habitat Staff Member
Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity helps build and design Habitat homes that are handicap accessible for homebuyer families with special needs. This fall, The Tile Shop generously donated bathroom tile to help ensure one family has a home accessible for two of their children, who are in wheelchairs.
Ali Diiriye and Maryan Elmi, who emigrated from Somalia together in 2009, currently live in a rented apartment with their three children; Umulkheyr (9 yrs), Zaitun (4 yrs) and Ahmed (3 yrs). The two younger children, Zaitun and Ahmed, were born with a neurodegenerative condition and both require a wheelchair to meet their mobility needs. Their current apartment is much too small for the family of five; especially considering Zaitun and Ahmed’s wheelchairs and medical equipment. Ali and Maryan say that their Habitat home is dream come true. Not only with they have more space to spend quality time together, the family now has a place to call their own.
Earlier this year, The Tile Shop, a specialty retailer of manufactured and natural stone tiles, setting and maintenance materials and related accessories, reached out to Twin Cities Habitat to explore partnership opportunities. The company was enthusiastic about donating tile for an upcoming Twin Cities Habitat build. The timing was perfect since Twin Cities Habitat was in the initial building phase of Ali and Maryan’s home.
Tile is an important surface needed when building a handicap accessible home, and one of the products recommended by the ADA Standards for Accessible Design.
The construction of a handicap accessible home can be expensive given some of the special material needs required, along with installation associated with those materials – tile being one example. Twin Cities Habitat does not ask volunteers to install tile since installation is best handled by a professional contractor or someone with experienced tile laying experience. In addition to providing the tile, The Tile Shop donated pro-bono services to help install the tile.
“It’s incredible what Habitat does for families, and it’s meaningful to partner with the organization on a tile donation for a project like this that brings added ease, inspiration and comfort to a deserving family,” said Chris Homeister, Chief Operating Officer for The Tile Shop. “We hope the Diiriye/Elmi family enjoys many years of happiness in their new home."
“No two Habitat homes are alike,” said Mark Turbak, Twin Cities Habitat’s Corporate Relations Senior Associate. “We strive to build homes that meet the needs of individual families. One way we are able to accomplish this is through corporate partners like The Tile Shop. Our partners are essential in supporting us in the process of building safe, affordable homes on-time and cost efficiently so we can help even more families each year.”
Learn more about donating materials or skilled labor or construction services on our website or contact Sean Koebele at Sean.Koebele@tchabitat.org.