Habitat for Humanity seeks $30K to build Bath home

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BATH — Habitat for Humanity/7 Rivers Maine has gone online to raise $30,000 to help build an affordable home on Middle Street.

It is the Topsham-based organization’s first crowd-sourced funding initiative, and the first time Habitat has sought to build a modular home. The web-based effort at crowdrise.com/build-hope, had, as of Aug. 25, raised $655 – 2 percent of its goal.

Construction is underway, and both the build and the fundraiser will continue at least through the end of the year, Kathy Smith, Habitat’s director of development, said in an interview Aug. 23.

The homeowner can afford a certain amount to purchase the home, and Habitat is subsidizing the rest through the $30,000 campaign, Smith explained.

Habitat is working with Bath-based Dirigo Custom Structures to build the modular home.

“It’s a little different,” Smith said. “We’re used to raising walls with volunteers, and building from the foundation up. But this is going to afford us some cost savings, as well as shorten the construction time by a number of months. Which means we can help more families if we have more time in our building year and more funds to do so.”

Modular homes are likely to be built on two pieces of land on Federal Street in Wiscasset, Smith projected. The Bath home is the 45th house built by Habitat/7 Rivers in its 25-year history.

“Right now we’re trying to build about two homes a year,” Smith said, noting that Habitat looks for free or affordable land to purchase for its projects.

Given the housing needs in Maine, helping one family at a time can feel slow at times, she said, adding, “but for each one we do, it’s another family that has a place.”

Habitat requires homeowners to put “sweat equity hours” into the construction process. Even though the Bath home is prefabricated, the family has been helping out at Habitat’s ReStore at 126 Main St. in Topsham and will work alongside volunteers on the site to finish a daylight basement bedroom in the house and build a porch.

Including the daylight basement, the home will have about 1,500 square feet of livable space.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Habitat for Humanity/7 Rivers Maine is holding its first online crowdsourcing campaign to raise $30,000 toward construction of a modular home in Bath. Both efforts could be complete by the end of the year.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.