In just five days, the Cape community comes together and builds a home for a family in need.

Photo by Jennifer Dow

Photo by Jennifer Dow

On the first fall morning of the year—a hint of summer’s warmth still lingering with the day’s bright sky—the quiet neighborhood of Harwich’s Oak Street stands in stark contrast to the hustle and bustle happening just down a narrow dirt path on that same stretch of road. Seven modest half-built homes, each situated side-by-side are nestled beyond this short path. But all the activity is directed toward 1104 Oak Street, the home at the end of this little neighborhood within a neighborhood.

Dozens of laborers work feverishly in a scene of controlled chaos. Painters climb over cabinet installers, who climb over the flooring crew, while a deck is built out back and the exterior of the home is being painted a grayish blue. The ear-piercing shrieks of construction equipment don’t break the focus of these determined workers, all volunteering their time and resources.

This house build is part of the biennial Cape Cod Blitz Build, a partnership between the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Cape Cod (HBRACC) and Habitat for Humanity of Cape Cod (HHCC) that build one affordable home for one local family in need in one week (actually, just five days). Aside from pre-built framing and a foundation completed beforehand, construction on the house—a two-story, three-bedroom Cape—began the morning of Monday, September 21 and was completed that Friday, September 25. “It’s not too often you get to see something being built in five days that normally would take five months,” says Trevor Meyer, Blitz Build project manager and principal at Meyer and Sons. “It’s pretty remarkable when you step back and you look at it.”

Hundreds of individuals and businesses, including over 50 HBRACC member companies, donated their time as well as building materials, supplies and labor to the project. Many, including First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union, provided meals for the blitz builders onsite. “Everybody’s working together. All these guys are competitors; they’ll be bidding against jobs tomorrow,” says Gail O’Rourke, owner of White Wood Kitchens in Sandwich and head of the Blitz Build Steering Committee, of the HBRACC volunteers. “We’re only as good as everybody else in the field. We want to build beautiful homes, and that’s what we really are dedicated to doing.”