‘Packing Queens’ moving company offers services to Habitat for Humanity clients at no cost

ST. GEORGE — Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Utah is partnering with an all-female packing team, the “Packing Queens,” to move Habitat homeowners to their new homes for free.

The team will start with the nonprofit’s latest house recipient Kasidy Havens, a single mother of four.

“We are so excited. It’s been a while coming, but we cannot wait to have our own space. It’s going to be awesome,” she said.

The house, located in Washington City, is a two story home with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, a significant upgrade from the 800-square-foot basement apartment in which Havens and her four children shared two bedrooms and one bathroom.

Read more: Habitat for Humanity chooses single mother of 4 to receive its 23rd home

The team is still working to add the finishing touches to the house, such as installing flooring and appliances, but they hope to have the family moved in by June.

Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Utah has built 22 homes in the past 20 years, helping over 125 people become homeowners. Their purpose is to build safe, good-quality, affordable housing for families in Washington County who are between 60% and 80% of the area’s median income.

The Havens family at groundbreaking ceremony for their new home built by Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Utah, June 21, 2018, Washington City, Utah | Photo courtesy of Lil Barron, St. George News

“There’s a great need, not just in purchasing homes but in the rentals, the whole industry is very very difficult for anybody here in our community to find something that they can afford,” Habitat’s Executive Director Linda Baker said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 11.2% of Washington County residents live in poverty. Housing is considered affordable if an individual is spending a maximum of 30% of their income on it, including utilities. The median household income in Washington County in 2017 was just over $55,000, meaning that affordable housing should cost an average of $1,379 per month, according to the Census Bureau.

“Affordable housing is so needed. … Everybody is so rent burdened. Many are paying up to 50% of their income in just the rent here, and that’s huge,” Lil Barron, director of development and community relations for Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Utah said.

Habitat for Humanity always keeps the living expenses to the family under 30% of their monthly income, which includes mortgage, utilities and insurance, and doesn’t charge them interest.

The organization can build about one house per year because it takes time to raise money to pay for any supplies that are not donated and to hire contractors for work that their volunteers cannot do, such as roofing and electrical work, Barron said.

House recipients are required to work 250 sweat-equity hours, which can be on their own home or on another. Havens and her children have almost met their hours by helping paint, clean, supply snacks to workers and frame the house.

“What I really love about Habitat is that their motto is ‘a hand up not a handout,’ and I really value that I have to work for the home … and that my kids have been able to see people volunteering and being so generous with their time and resources to build our home,” Havens said.

Now that Havens’ home is nearly finished, Habitat for Humanity is in the process of choosing a family for their next build which will be in Enterprise.

Read more: Habitat for Humanity seeks potential homeowners for next build; application meetings scheduled

Between building houses, the team will take on smaller “Brush with Kindness” projects, where they perform maintenance on homes for people who cannot afford to do so themselves, Baker said.

Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Utah is looking to replace Baker, who is retiring as executive director.

The Packing Queens box a kitchen, St. George, Utah, May 16, 2019 | Photo by Mikayla Shoup, St. George News

“Certainly it’s a great organization and I plan on doing some volunteer work with them once I am retired,” she said. “It’s been on my mind for a little while and I just feel like there’s somebody else out there that can take it to that next step.”

While Habitat for Humanity has teamed up with other organizations to help new homeowners in the past, such as the Utah Food Bank, which fills their pantry the day they move in, recipients have always been on their own to arrange the often stressful and costly process of moving.

When Crown Moving owner Alyson Ford and Chief Operations Officer Carlos Flores, who are both friends of Havens, heard about her move, they wanted to help.

“We’re just really excited to be able to give back to the community, help our friend Kasidy and be involved in Habitat,” Ford said. “We just love what they stand for and what they do. We’re really excited about our partnership with them.”

The Packing Queens will pack the family’s belongings, move them to their new house and help to unpack as well, a service that usually costs between $800-$2,000 per move. This will be the first move in an ongoing partnership between the two organizations.

“To have Crown Moving be able to move everything in one fell swoop is awesome for the family. We’re so excited about this new partnership,” Barron said.  

As a woman-owned company, Crown Moving is one of five companies in the U.S. that promotes women in the moving industry. Wanting to find a way to incorporate women into the moving process, not just in office work, they formed the Packing Queens, who specialize in being delicate, thorough and organized, Flores said.

“It really just stems from being able to give opportunity to people who don’t normally have one,” he said.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews | @MikaylaShoup

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!