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Blitz Build Blessing


Photo by Jennifer Dow

The home, along with the six others being built next to it, is located on more than two acres of land purchased by HHCC with grant funds awarded by the town of Harwich. The six additional homes are being built on an eight-month schedule, to be completed next spring by community volunteers working alongside the future homeowners, who must contribute their “sweat equity” as part of the home purchase. For the Blitz Builds, HHCC arranges for the building permits, site work, and underground utilities. They also provide a capped foundation and are responsible for the design of the home. HBRACC’s building professionals take it from there, completing everything needed for the construction of the home.

HHCC selects the home buyers, families with critical housing needs who qualify by having incomes at or below 65 percent of the median income and the ability to pay a monthly low-or no-interest mortgage payment between $625 and $775, depending on house size and the mortgage term. Wendy Cullinan, HHCC’s director of resource development, explains that once Habitat knows they will be building a home, applications are open for 60 days. A team of HHCC volunteers then determines who of those applicants qualify, and for everyone who does qualify, Cullinan says their names are put in a bucket and the recipient’s name drawn at random. “Once everyone qualifies, then they’re all equal,” she says.

The Vasquez family, comprised of Alberto, Olivia, and their three children—two-year-old twins, William and Jacob, and infant daughter Daisy—are the recipients of the 2015 Blitz Build home. At the home’s dedication ceremony on September 26, the surrealness of seeing the house—their house—completed hits Alberto and Olivia. “It’s crazy,” Olivia says. “We’re just so happy, and we’re beyond excited.”

The family of five previously lived with Olivia’s parents and shared one small bedroom, so it’s no surprise they are looking forward to finally having a space of their own. The Vasquez family’s good fortune couldn’t have come at a better time. Alberto’s father passed away on the same day Habitat volunteers interviewed the family about their housing needs, and around the time they applied for the house, Alberto and Olivia discovered that one of Daisy’s kidneys is covered in cysts, a condition called Multicystic Dysplastic Kidney. Doctors say she will be fine, even if she has to live with one kidney.

For Alberto and Olivia, the new home truly feels like a gift from God. “It’s just really proof that, through prayer, anything is possible,” says Alberto. “God answered our prayers,” Olivia adds. “It’s just a blessing.”

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