Family selected for Habitat home in Freeport, celebration planned next week
FREEPORT — Mikki Cote and her son Eli have been selected as the new homeowners of the environmentally friendly Habitat for Humanity house on West Street.
The home is the third built by Habitat in town, but the first to be rebuilt to green standards.
"I feel like this was supposed to be, it was supposed to happen," Cote said. "I truly believe the power of positive energy brings about positive things. Eli and I prayed every night for this opportunity and now it is our reality."
Cote said she happened to be shopping in the Community Center last November when she saw the Habitat for Humanity information booth. As she read the requirements she realized that as a single mom with her income, she would qualify for consideration. She attended an informational meeting in January, started filling out the applications and began the family selection process.
Habitat for Humanity considered her need, her ability to pay the mortgage and ability to work with the organization. Cote has to put in 250 hours of sweat equity and has to complete a first-time home-buyer class, a budgeting class and a home repair class.
"I don't know if people are aware that this is not a handout," Cote said. "It is hard work, and there is a mortgage to pay at the end. But now I will know how to deal with my finances and budget."
The house, nicknamed the Green Bean, is the frame of a house donated to Habitat by L.L. Bean and moved to the West Street site onto a piece of land donated by the town.
George Ellis, development director for Habitat, said the selection process is difficult, but Cote and her 5-year-old son are a deserving and hard-working family.
"We are excited to be able to build for them," he said. "They are great people who deserve a chance at a home and security."
Cote said working with Habitat has been a wonderful learning experience for both of them.
"I've always struggled, but have tried to stay positive and been able to keep my head above water," she said. "With this experience, seeing such kindness and generosity has been overwhelming. Eli has been learning about the goodness of people and has grown throughout this process, too. I can't thank Habitat enough."
There will be a kick-off celebration Wednesday, Nov. 11, from 5-7 p.m. at the Freeport Community Center to introduce the Cotes to the community. The public is invited to meet the family, listen to a guest speaker, win prizes and enjoy refreshments.
Keynote speaker Craig John is a Freeport resident and a world-class climber. He will share inspirational stories of scaling Mt. Everest and several of the world's tallest peaks and will discuss life's challenges, how to overcome obstacles and how to accomplish goals.
Children are welcome and there will be appetizers, beer and wine for the adults. More than 30 items have been donated by local businesses for a raffle and silent auction. Prizes include a five-night stay in Daytona Beach, Fla.; gift certificates for massage and personal trainers; shopping at L.L. Bean, Mexicali Blues, Old World Gourmet Deli and Conundrum; overnight stays at the James Place, the White Cedar Inn or the Hilton Garden Inn; and kayak rentals and ski tune-ups.
"This is a celebration for Mikki and Eli, an introduction for them to the neighborhood, and a request for resident participation and financial support," Ellis said. "With community support, we can tighten the house and work on it throughout the winter."
The suggested donation is $10 and the public is asked to RSVP to 772-2151 no later than Monday, Nov. 9.