Home By All
In their new home, the Richards’ dream of living and raising a family on Cape Cod is coming true. “We love the house,” Heidi says. “My son loves the yard. He has a place to run and play now.” The Richards’ home is the first of five Habitat homes slated for construction in the Orleans subdivision.
Habitat Cape Cod is committed to making a deliberate and concerted effort to improve housing situations for families like the Richards, working in partnership with the HB&RACC. The mission of HHCC, which has completed 81 homes on the Cape since its founding in 1988, is to “work in partnership with families in need to build homes, hope, lives, and community on Cape Cod.”
The HB&RACC has a similar mission. While the organization’s initiatives are broad and range from advocacy to education, the association also works to support home ownership for trade members and the broader community, advocating for affordable housing for all. “Our builders [i.e. association members and affiliates] live, work, and play here, and have a vested interest in affecting a stable, growing, thriving economy,” says Chris Duren, the organization’s executive director. “The Cape can’t afford to lose people who are the economic engine of our community.”
Motivated to bring awareness to the increasing issue of the lack of housing on the Cape, HB&RACC partnered with Habitat Cape Cod to “shine a spotlight” on the local housing crisis, Duren explains. These compatible beliefs—and the work of countless dedicated volunteers—sparked the 2013 Cape Cod Blitz Build initiative.
The nationwide concept of Blitz Build began in 2002 when a homebuilder in North Carolina partnered with Habitat for Humanity. Together, the partners recruited 12 additional homebuilders who agreed to build a home in five days. According to Habitat for Humanity International resources, response to the original project was sensational; since then, 1,067 homes have been constructed in similar Blitz Build fashion.
Cape Cod’s Blitz Build began when the HB&RACC, which is affiliated with the National Association of Home Builders and the Home Builders and Remodeling Association of Massachusetts, decided to take on the initiative locally. Conversations began between representatives of the two organizations—HB&RACC and Habitat Cape Cod—two years ago. Both groups decided that 2013 would be the right time for an event of this magnitude.
While a similar Blitz Build project was completed in Yarmouth during the 1990s, what is notable about this project is the exclusive use of skilled labor and the total support of a single organization: in this case HB&RACC. The extent to which the community at large contributed to this effort is also extraordinary.
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