Habitat for Humanity begins new Charlestown home
Owner: ‘It’s going to be our future’
— To many, the lot on Charlestown Place probably looks a like a work very much still in progress, but to Brandi Forman, it already feels like a home.
“I’m biting at the bit,” the Rising Sun woman said Thursday. “I’m super excited.”
This week, Forman and Habitat for Human-
ity Susquehanna volunteers worked on constructing and installing roof trusses, or the skeleton of the roof, on her future home. Since mid-April, the foundation has been laid and the threebedroom home’s framing has been put up.
Forman and her 3-year-old son, Elijah, have been sharing a room in her parents’ home the past few years, and she was looking for a way to branch out on her own.
The process began when Forman applied for a Habitat home two years ago. She said her former supervisor at Hollywood Casino Per- ryville suggested she apply to the nonprofit organization that constructs simple and affordable housing for those who don’t qualify for conventional home financing. After submitting an application, Forman was notified via email that she was chosen in September 2014.
Brianne Young, volunteer and community engagement coordinator with the Susquehanna charter, explained that a coordinator along with the family selection committee chooses the applicants.
She said they base the decision on requirements such as the application, income, credit score, ability to pay a mortgage and other financial requirements.
The house is not free, because the homeowner buys the home from Habitat for Habitat, and pays the organization back through monthly installments, but is a way for those with some financial difficulties to get into their own home.
One of the requirements of the project is 250 hours of sweat equity, which refers to the number of labor hours the homeowner dedicates to building his or her home. That sweat equity includes 100 hours of actual homeowner construction, 50 hours of fundraising and 100 referral hours for recruiting friends and family to help with the project. So far, Forman said she has been to the site at least once a week to help personally build the home.
Young said this project is different from other home projects, because it is being built during National Women Build Week, which occurs from April 30 to May 8. She said the week was created by Habitat for Humanity International’s Women Build program to encourage women to learn construction skills and to participate in local Habitat builds.
Once the project is complete, Lowe’s will give the organization a $5,000 grant. Fundraisers are scheduled from 4 to 8 p.m. May 26 and June 23 at Rita’s Water Ice on Route 40 in North East to help fund the construction costs.
Young said volunteers from Towson University, Lowe’s in North East and other businesses and schools have helped during past construction days. She said as many as 20 volunteers have come each day of the building schedule, which is scheduled Wednesday to Saturday.
“It’s great seeing everyone come,” Forman said of the volunteers who have helped in the building process.
Mary Jo Fitz, a volunteer with the organization, came out on Thursday to help with the project. She said she has been a mentor to Forman for two years, answering any questions she may have about the home or to give advice. Fitz said she feels “great” about the project because it gives the family stability and a future.
Julia Rodenbaugh, a volunteer from Lowe’s, said she heard about the project through co-workers who have volunteered their time to the project. With a limited knowledge of home construction, she said she was excited to learn more while helping out a good cause.
“I love doing volunteer work, especially with her (Forman) being here, it makes it more personal,” Rodenbaugh said.
She said she met Forman earlier on Thursday and talked to her for a bit.
Rodenbaugh said she could tell Forman is “really passionate” about the project because she is actively working and is excited about the help from the others. She said she “can’t imagine the excitement” Forman must feel about the project.
Young said Forman and her son will move in no later than September when the home is scheduled to be fin- ished.
Forman said she is looking forward to the fact that their new home will allow her and Elijah to each have their own space, while leaving plenty to create a playroom. The home will give them stability, and one day she hopes to leave it for her son.
“It’s somewhere that’s going to be ours,” Forman said. “It’s going to be our future.”
(L-R) Volunteer Mary Jo Fitz and future homeowner Brandi Forman stand inside the future home in Charlestown.
Leeds Elementary students formed a living American flag outside the school on Thursday morning.
Brandi Forman and a Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna volunteer work on her future home.