Robbins Foundation supports affordable homeownership

Special to Dorchester Banner/Habitat Choptank The Robbins Charitable Foundation has made a grant to support the growth of Habitat Choptank’s homeownership program in Cambridge. Wayne Suggs, left, director of construction for Habitat, and Cindy Stevens, right, member of the Habitat Choptank board, recently gave Leonard N. Foxwell Sr., foundation trustee, a tour of the Shepherd Avenue home.

Special to Dorchester Banner/Habitat Choptank
The Robbins Charitable Foundation has made a grant to support the growth of Habitat Choptank’s homeownership program in Cambridge. Wayne Suggs, left, director of construction for Habitat, and Cindy Stevens, right, member of the Habitat Choptank board, recently gave Leonard N. Foxwell Sr., foundation trustee, a tour of the Shepherd Avenue home.

CAMBRIDGE – A grant from The Pauline F. and W. David Robbins Charitable Foundation Trust to Habitat for Humanity Choptank will help more hardworking people build strength, stability and self-reliance through homeownership in Cambridge. Habitat began building in Cambridge in 2005 when a group of concerned citizens began organizing around the issue of disproportionately high rental rates in the city. Since then, the nonprofit has completed 12 homes in Cambridge which were sold to income-qualifying homebuyers. These have been a mix of new construction and rehab projects.

Two more single family homes are nearing completion: a rehab on High Street and a new construction build on Shepherd Avenue. Following the sale of these homes, Habitat Choptank will immediately proceed with two more projects: a rehab on Mace’s Lane and a new construction build on Oakley Street. The investment from the Robbins Foundation will be leveraged with local contributions to fund this increased pace of construction.

Polly and Dave Robbins created the foundation through instructions in their wills and following Polly’s passing in 2011. Both natives of Dorchester County, they built their lifetime home on East Appleby Avenue in Cambridge just around the corner from Habitat’s project on Shepherd Avenue.

Since 1992, Habitat Choptank has empowered a total of 69 working households from Talbot and Dorchester counties to build a better future for themselves through homeownership. Each homebuyer contributed 300-400 hours of “sweat equity” in the building of those houses and purchased their home with an affordable mortgage. While selling its homes to mostly first time and even first generation homebuyers, Habitat Choptank continues to maintain a less than 3 percent foreclosure rate with only two homes foreclosed over the 24-year history. Currently, seven buyers are working through Habitat’s multi-step program toward the goal of becoming successful tax-paying homeowners.

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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