BERLIN — The third and final house to be built by Worcester County’s Habitat for Humanity on a property located in Berlin is on schedule to be completed in April. After its completion, the organization will be looking for more property in Worcester for the next project.
“After the third house is built, we have no more land [in Berlin],” said John Kotoski, a member of the Habitat Board of Directors who oversees construction.
The Worcester branch of HFH is part of a larger international organization. Founded in 1976 as a Christian housing ministry, Habitat goal is to provide affordable housing by partnering with families in need and volunteers.
According to Kotoski, the property in Berlin, which is located on Flower St, was purchased about four years ago. Since acquiring the land, the Habitat chapter has built two homes and is well into completing the third.
“We’re pretty much on schedule,” said Kotoski.
Because of the nature of Habitat, where construction is dependent mostly upon volunteers showing up, Kotoski admitted that keeping to a schedule isn’t always the easiest thing in the world. For this project however, community support has been strong and work on the house has already progressed to the roof, where trusses were installed this week.
“We try to work every weekend,” said Kotoski.
He, like many volunteers, works a full-time job outside of Habitat and organizes construction needs to center individual schedules. Joining the volunteers for some of the more technical aspects of the building process are contractors such as Nolan Dove.
Dove, a licensed carpenter, first joined the local Habitat chapter as a volunteer. He said that the organization has a lot of well-meaning man power, but needed more people with knowledge and experience in the field of construction.
During his time as a volunteer, Dove’s company was contracted specifically to do some of the more dangerous parts of the house.
“They wanted to hire my company to do the roof,” he said.
While his employees did receive compensation, Dove volunteered his time for free.
With the house wrapping up, Kotoski hopes that resident Dawn Manuel and her family, for whom the project was commissioned, will be able to move in by April. Where Habitat will head after that is uncertain.
“We’ll go anywhere in Worcester County,” said Kotoski.
But before a house can be built a suitable lot needs to be chosen. With the property in Berlin maxed out, Habitat may look to building on a site already owned in Snow Hill. However, Kotoski mentioned that there are a few issues with the property that has his organization hesitant to use the location. Additionally, he noted that most of his usual volunteer base lives a significant distance from Snow Hill.
Kotoski did not take using the site off the table, though, and explained that Habitat is optimistic about its volunteer base growing to include more residents from all over Worcester.
“We always look for people,” he said.
Between the months left on the Berlin house and the process to select a new partner family, Habitat will have a significant amount of time to identify its next property. During that time, the volunteer base may expand and, for his part at least, Dove said he would consider returning to work on a house in the future.
To contact the Worcester County Habitat for Humanity, call 410-208-4440.