2013 House Complete!

Habitat for Humanity's first solar house completed in Oakland

October 3, 2013
By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling

OAKLAND — After years of planning and 15 months of construction, New England’s first solar-powered Habitat for Humanity house will be opened to the public Sunday.

The beige ranch house, the fourth built in the area by Habitat since 2002, was built with a mixture of goodwill and hard labor from donors and volunteers.

Mike Grant, a member of the Waterville area Habitat for Humanity chapter’s board of directors, said Sunday’s open house, scheduled for 1 to 3 p.m., is being held to thank the nearly 100 volunteers and 50 companies that came together to provide the resources needed for the building.

“We look at it as a community development project because we’ve brought together all these people and organizations, and together we’ve provided a focal point for them to help this family.”

The home looks like any other new house except for a double-row of 16 photovoltaic panels mounted on the roof, which face south to gather the most light.

Grant said the volunteer workforce was able to use the panels over the past few months to power their saws and other tools on the worksite.

“We were glad to get out of the gas-powered generator business,” Grant said. “It was noisy and smelly.”

The panels, and a solar hot water system, will provide about 50 percent of the energy needed to heat water and 90 percent of the home’s electricity needs. 


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2013 Maine Innkeepers Fundraiser

Freeport, ME – July 9, 2013 – The 10th annual Hospitality for Habitat fundraiser sponsored by the Maine Innkeepers Association (MEIA) raised $15,284 for Habitat for Humanity announced Greg Dugal, MEIA Executive Director.  100% of the funds raised for Habitat for Humanity will be divided among the organizations’ chapters across the state to help build homes regionally for Maine families. 

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Women Build Day 2013 Photo

Women Build DayPicture from May 5th Morning Sentinel

Tina Cook, far left, Khristina Thayer, left center, Kelsey Atwood, right center and Alice Stinson measure vinyl siding during the Lowe's Women Build Day at the Habitat for Humanity house on Jaques Lane in Oakland on Saturday. About 30 women volunteered their skills and sweat for the day, making up nearly 75 percent of the workforce at the job site.

Solar Article

Solar-powered Oakland home marks fourth local Habitat for Humanity dwelling

April 13, 2013
By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling
MaineToday Media

OAKLAND — New England's first solar-powered Habitat for Humanity home will be completed in Oakland this season.

It will be the fourth home built since 2001 by the Waterville area chapter of Habitat for Humanity, an organization that leverages donations and connections to build homes for those who wouldn't qualify for a traditional mortgage.

Chapter president Mike Grant, 62, said the organization "kind of hit a sweet spot" by taking advantage of state and federal tax credits that made it financially possible to install photovoltaic panels and a solar-powered hot water system.

The solar energy systems will provide 80 percent of the energy needed to heat water and 90 percent of the electricity needs of the home, and are expected to pay for themselves in five years, Grant said.

The cost of the systems is about 15 percent of the $80,000 total value of the home, he said.

The average homeowner, he said, probably would pay more for the system, because habitat was able to make use of free labor and discounted rates.

He said the purpose was to bring down the ongoing energy costs for the homeowner, who assumes a long-term mortgage for the home.

In addition to the active solar features, the house also has been designed and positioned to take advantage of the sun's warmth, a passive solar feature that will help to reduce the propane-fueled heating costs.

"Heating is a large part of every household's budget in this part of the world," Grant said.

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Women Build Day 2013

Solar-powered Oakland home marks fourth local Habitat for Humanity dwelling

May 2 2013
By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling
MaineToday Media

OAKLAND -- On Saturday morning, a crew of women will work on New England's first solar-powered Habitat for Humanity house.

Dave Cross, executive director for the Waterville-area chapter of Habitat for Humanity, said he expects to participate in Women Build Day, part of a Habitat effort to encourage women volunteership in the program.

The volunteers will be installing vinyl siding and painting the interior of the house, which is located on Jacques Lane.

"We are looking forward to National Women Build Week and the opportunity to engage more women in our work," Cross said. "We are very pleased with the crew of volunteer women of all construction levels that will join us on the build site."

The event is one of more than 300 similar events happening in Habitat for Humanity chapters across the country between May 4-12, as part of National Women Build Week.

The Waterville event received $5,000 in funding from Lowe's, which also hosted a training session for volunteers Tuesday in its Augusta location.

The money will go toward the purchase of Lowe's building materials for future projects.

This is the fourth house the Waterville chapter has built since it was founded in 2001. When completed, it will become the home of Joni Sprague, a 31-year-old single mother who currently shares a bedroom with her twin 3-year-old girls in her Waterville apartment.

Sprague applied for the residence because she wouldn't qualify for traditional home financing.

She will assume the estimated $660 monthly mortgage payments for the property, and also has been required to put in a certain amount of "sweat equity" by participating in the home construction. 

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Habitat Co-Founder in the News

Global forum hosts central Maine Habitat for Humanity co-founder
High cost of housing biggest challenge organization faces

By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling mhhetling@mainetoday.com
MaineToday Media - March 28, 2013

WATERVILLE -- When it comes to building homes for those in need, every country has its own challenges, a Habitat for Humanity volunteer told a global forum group Wednesday.

In some countries, cultural barriers are the biggest obstacles to building low-income housing; while in the United States, the high cost of housing is the biggest problem.

Scott Guay, who co-founded central Maine's chapter of Habitat for Humanity in 2001, spoke about the unique challenges Habitat volunteers face in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Guay spoke to a crowd of about 35 in the REM Center as part of the Mid Maine Global Forum, a group that promotes understanding of global issues in central Maine.

The basic model of Habitat for Humanity remains the same wherever it operates, Guay said, with volunteers gathering the resources necessary to build a home for an applicant. The new homeowner then must pay off the costs of the home in the form of an interest-free mortgage.

"Habitat for Humanity is not a giveaway program," Guay said.

While the model is the same, the challenges in each country are unique, Guay said.

In the United States, the biggest problem is keeping the cost of housing down, Guay said, a task made more difficult by code requirements and standards that he said are "much more stringent."

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2013 Dancing w/Realtors

Winter 2013

The Kennebec Valley Board of Realtors held their 3rd Annual Dancing With the Realtors benefiting Habitat For Humanity on February 9, 2013.  Despite being postponed 24 hours due to a major blizzard, and despite a still incredibly bad weather evening the second night, over 200 people showed to thier support for the incredible dancers and this worthwhile fundraising event for Waterville and Augusta Habitat Chapters.  A take-off of the famous Dancing With the Stars, 15 amateur dancers spend 10 weeks taking private dance lessons (the Tango and the Salsa) preparing for the evening.  This year's event was once again overseen by dance professionals Sergei Slussky and Polina Kirillova of the American Ballroom Academy. Thanks to the dozens of generous sponsors, the ticket buying public, the silent auction and  bidding for the open judges seat, this year's event netted an incredible $19,000 for the Waterville Area Habitat for Humanity and the Augusta Area Habitat for Humanity.  This annual event is proving to be not only a major fundraising event benefitting Habitat but a major fun event in the area period!  Stayed tuned as preparations begin later this year for the 4th annual event slated for early next year.  The Waterville Area Habitat for Humanity truly appreciates, and thanks, the Kennebec Valley Board of Realtors for this outstanding fundraising benefit!!

Brush With Kindness

Summer 2012

Waterville Area Habitat for Humanity completed an exterior renovation project last month for Roxanne Bowie of Vassalboro. In utilizing Habitat’s “A Brush With Kindness” program, WAHFH was able to rebuild a small deck, a set of side steps and replace an exterior door for Roxanne’s home. Home Depot and Main's Mobile Home Parts of Oakland also contributed to the project.

 A Brush with Kindness is an exterior home preservation service that offers painting, landscaping, weather stripping and minor repair services for homeowners in need. ABWK helps qualified homeowners impacted by age, disability and family circumstances  to maintain the exterior of their homes. ABWK serves as a companion to local Habitat affiliates’ core home building services, enabling them to serve more families and increase opportunities for volunteers and sponsors.

 Waterville Area Habitat for Humanity is celebrating 10 years of service to the area, and is currently building a home for another qualified applicant in Oakland. In keeping with the Habitat concept of providing “a hand up, not a hand out,” recipients of Habitat services provide building assistance and/or cash donations to support their projects. Habitat relies completely upon the local community and business for cash and material donations.

Faith Outreach

Fall, 2012

In an effort to spread the word about our newest Habitat house in Oakland, Waterville Area Habitat for Humanity (WAHfH) has been contacting area churches to connect with our faith partners. Board members Cindy Dionne and John Kramer have been calling local churches and bringing them materials to hand out to their parishners. Materials include pamphlets in handmade wooden holders (made by our very own WAHfH board member, Dean Dolham) and summaries for inclusion in Sunday service bulletins. We want you to know how Habitat is working in your community and how you can help!

If you would like to receive some informational materials to handout to your organization, church, or business, please feel free to email us.

Lowes Women's Build Week

WB_Lowes logo_colorAs the underwriter of Habitat's Women Build® program since 2004, Lowe's has brought women from all walks of life together to support the nationwide initiative that challenges women to devote at least one day to help eliminate poverty housing. Lowe's how-to clinics have put hammers in the hands of thousands of women, teaching them construction skills and empowering them to be part of the solution by building homes with partner families.

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