Construction volunteers needed in Hurlock

MD-construction volunteers 2x-040416

Special to Dorchester Banner/Habitat Choptank
Construction volunteers help with most every aspect of the home building process. Individual and small group volunteers are needed to help Habitat Choptank build its first home in Hurlock.

HURLOCK — Habitat for Humanity Choptank is beginning construction on its first home in Hurlock. In 2015, the nonprofit announced plans to expand its affordable home ownership program to the Town. Now, with a building permit approved and several home buyer applicants in process, it is time to start construction. Work will take place at the Hurlock jobsite on Tuesdays and Saturdays under the supervision of Habitat Choptank’s construction staff. Tools will be provided on site. Volunteers may come out as individuals or in small groups of 4-8 people.

“Our homes are built almost entirely by volunteers, both skilled and unskilled,” explains Wayne Suggs, Habitat Choptank’s director of construction. “Whether you are a contractor, an experienced do-it-yourselfer or have never picked up a hammer in your life, we can use your help.”

On a Habitat build site, there are many tasks that require only a willingness to learn and work with others. “We make every effort to involve willing volunteers, both men and women, regardless of skill level,” Mr. Suggs notes. All volunteers on the construction site must be at least 16 years of age or older.

New volunteers are asked to attend a one-time orientation with several events scheduled for April. On April 14, there is a morning and an afternoon orientation session at the Habitat Choptank office in Trappe. To attend, community members should call 410-476-3204 or e-mail program@habitatchoptank.org. In addition, Habitat Choptank is hosting a volunteer information session on April 30, in the Hurlock Town Office at 311 Charles St. Community members can drop in anytime between 10 am – noon.

Construction volunteers help with most every aspect of the home building process. By working side-by-side with the individual or family who will buy the house, these volunteers experience for themselves the joy created when Habitat home buyers are able to realize their dream of home ownership.

In preparation for expanding its program to Hurlock, Habitat Choptank has acquired four residential lots on which single family homes will be built. The first house will be constructed on Charles Street. The Town donated this infill lot to Habitat. Habitat also has three other lots for future development. Purchase of these properties was funded by a grant from the Nathan Foundation.

“A land bank is important to our ongoing mission,” Mr. Suggs notes. “Having made a commitment to bring our housing program to the community, we need a pipeline of lots so as we finish and sell one home, we can begin construction on the next home and so on.” Over time, as Habitat Choptank continues to acquire land or houses for rehab, efforts will be made to cluster properties together. This strategy helps to multiply the impact of each individual home as buyers put down roots in their neighborhoods.

Since 1992, Habitat Choptank has empowered 68 working households from Talbot and Dorchester counties to build the stability, security and self-reliance that comes from buying a home with monthly mortgage that they can afford. Each home buyer contributed 300-400 hours of “sweat equity” in the building of those houses. While selling its homes to mostly first time and even first generation homebuyers, Habitat Choptank continues to maintain a less than 2 percent foreclosure rate with only one home foreclosed over the 24 year history. Currently, eight buyers are working through Habitat’s multi-step program toward purchasing homes under construction in Cambridge and Easton.

For information about homeownership, to volunteer with Habitat Choptank or to make a donation, visit www.habitatchoptank.org or call 410-476-3204.

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