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Habitat for Humanity reaches out to Freeport for help

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Habitat for Humanity reaches out to Freeport for help

FREEPORT — In anticipation of renovating a home for a Freeport family, representatives of Habitat for Humanity are asking business owners and community members for help with the project.

George Ellis, development director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland, said this is the third Habitat project in Freeport.

"We are very excited to be back in Freeport, " Ellis said. "Finding a family, building a house and getting materials can be a huge undertaking. With your help, we hope to establish a steering committee that will work with the community to make this house happen."

L.L. Bean donated the latest house, on Cross Street, last spring. A few months later, the house was moved to a West Street lot donated by the town. The organization needs to raise $135,000 in both cash and in-kind donations in order to complete the home renovations.

Usually, Ellis said, the family is chosen first, then the home is constructed. In this case, the house exists, but there is no family selected yet.

The nearly 15 residents, business owners and employees who attended a meeting on Monday, April 27, were told family selection is a long process. Ellis said a selection board will review the applications, financial information, and verify applicant employment. The homeowner must be able to make the mortgage payments and pay taxes. They must agree to take budgeting classes and contribute 500 hours of sweat equity in their home and another Habitat project.

Ellis told the residents that they knew the community well and could help orchestrate the donations, the marketing, the events and the volunteers.

"We need creative people, people who do and people who connect, we need event planners and number crunchers," he said.

Bud Parsons, a retired L.L. Bean employee from Durham, said he attended the meeting to learn more about how he could participate in the Habitat project. Chuck and Susan Soule of Freeport said being on the steering committee would be a positive way to give back to the community.

Ellis said another way to help support the project is to participate in the Hospitality for Habitat 2009 program, where local innkeepers offer a 50 percent room discount in exchange for a $35 donation to Habitat for Humanity. The promotion starts May 1 through May 22, and innkeepers all over the state will participate.

Whether residents help by constructing a home, joining the steering committee, or helping to raise money, Ellis said working with Habitat for Humanity is a satisfying process.

"The beauty of this is anyone can help," he said. "There is a great house waiting to happen."

To contact Ellis or to help with the Habitat house in Freeport, e-mail george@habitatme.org or call 772-2151.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net