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A Day Outside Our Natural “Habitat”

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For the past three years, we’ve taken a day out of our regular work schedule to show up at the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland build site in Scarborough, where eight of thirteen homes are part of the Habitat program. These homes are designated for people who have a need for safe, affordable housing and have applied to be a Habitat homeowner. Once approved, Habitat homeowners partner with the organization throughout the process by helping with the building process and enrolling in home ownership classes. For most people, it isn’t only about having a stable and secure structure to protect them, but also represents a step toward building generational wealth.

When we arrived at the cul-de-sac, the results of the labor that has gone into this project were immediately evident. Only three houses in the subdivision were not yet completed or occupied, and what was once a bustling construction site of many homes going up simultaneously had transformed into a well-loved community. Children’s bikes were scattered about, hanging ferns decorated the front railings, and families were sitting outside on their porches. The house we worked on last fall now looked ready for move-in. From three years ago to today, it was clear that all of the hard work contributed by homeowners and volunteers alike had transformed this little cove into a thriving, well cared-for neighborhood.

On this particular day, our tasks entailed installing the home’s remaining sheets of roof sheathing and nailing on sheets of tongue-and-groove exterior foam insulation. Chad – our fearless construction manager – ran us through safety practices on the build site (hard hats and eye protection on at all times! plus make sure to watch where you’re walking – construction sites have lots of things lying around on the ground). It was one of the hotter days in July, but as we broke into teams we were ready to take on the house.  

Placing a literal roof over a family’s head and putting up insulation to keep them warm is a powerful feeling. Our work is designing houses for people, but being on the ground building one is something else entirely. Habitat for Humanity makes home ownership possible through community involvement. We are grateful to have been some of the hands who had a part in putting this house together, and look forward to knowing it will soon become a home.

If you are interested in volunteering with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland, you can contact their office at 207-772-2151 or by email at volunteer@habitatme.org.