Homestead Avenue is a quiet side street between Bryn Mawr and Oxford St., close to Bethel Lutheran Church. Number, 4 Homestead is an empty, dusty, weed-strewn lot that holds a lifetime of promise for two families, and for the neighborhood.
What was once a dilapidated, foreclosed ranch-style home has been razed, the property donated to Habitat for Humanity MetroWest/Greater Worcester. On Tuesday, October 27, representatives of Habitat for Humanity, Bank of America, Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church, community leaders, and neighbors gathered at the site to celebrate the groundbreaking for what will become a modern, two family duplex within the next year.
In the meantime, a small army of businesses, builders, sponsors and volunteers will work alongside the future homeowners to build the house. Gary Pike Construction, WoodPro Inc., Dauphinais Concrete and Thrivent Financial are already committed to the project. Habitat for Humanity will be reaching out to the community in the near future to find local individuals and community groups willing to pitch in and make this home rise from the dust.
“Auburn is a welcoming, great community” said Auburn Town Manager Julie Jacobson during her remarks. “This project brings together the community and the homeowners to create a strong sense of ownership, and demonstrates the value of affordable homes” to the community.
According to Tim Firment, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity MetroWest/Greater Worcester, the former house was foreclosed by Bank of America, and the property donated to Habitat for Humanity.
“Bank of America has donated over 2,000 properties across the United States,” said Firment. “And it’s not just the properties. Bank of America provides grants to fund the building or critical repairs to the properties.”
The duplex will provide homes for two families, the 42nd and 43rd families helped this year by Habitat. The owners must go through a selection process, financial and home ownership workshops, must contribute 400-500 hours of “sweat equity” into building the home, and must carry a mortgage, though Habitat provides 0% financing on the loan.
“Affordable homes equals stable communities,” said Ed Shea, Worcester Market President for Bank of America. “Bank of America is committed to strengthening every community we serve.”
Construction is expected to begin within a few weeks, with a new foundation poured. The building will happen mostly early spring and summer 2016, with a completion target date of December 2016.
“By Christmas time 2016, we will have two families moving into their own homes” said Firment. “This is God’s love in action,” said Firment. “We bring people together to build homes, community and hope.”
Any individual or organization interested in donating time, materials or cash can contact the Habitat for Humanity MetroWest/Greater Worcester office at (508) 799-9259.