HFH physically and personally benefits Westford

Chloe Morbelli, Arts and Entertainment Editor

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Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell (HFHGL) has recently extended into Westford, planning to build two affordable and eco-friendly homes. Having built previously in Westford during 2008, HFH is proud to have returned. Home developer, Jeff Brem of Quality Green Homes, donated two lots of land to HFH. With his contribution and the volunteers of the team, the lives of two families in the Westford community will be immensely enriched.

HFH’s overall goal is to strengthen families and communities through building and renovating homes. Previously in Westford, HFH had built its first energy efficient home that received LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification, due to its success with energy and resource efficiency. 

“[HFH] works without discrimination to strengthen families and communities by building and renovating simple, decent, safe, energy efficient, and affordable homes,” explained the HFHGL Events Coordinator, Heidi Tierney. 

The non-profit goes about its contributions to communities through its core values of partnership, openness, integrity, quality, and hand up. Each of these principles represent what HFH stands for; volunteers and organizations of different religions, races, ages, genders, sexualities, and economic circumstances working together to the highest care standards to support the community.

A key part of the HFH’s building program is that the families of the future homes must be involved in their production. They work alongside the volunteers and are required to dedicate 225 hours of sweat equity, take financial classes, and pay interest-free mortgage.

Trinity Cook is a junior at WA, whose family is receiving one of the homes. Building commences in the spring of 2018, and the home is scheduled to be finished by the winter. After ten years of moving through different apartments, the Cook family will finally have a home they can call their own again. After speaking with Cook, it is easy to see both the physical and personal impacts HFH is having.

“We will finally all have an actual bedroom and a garage… I’ll be able to decorate my room and paint it… [and] we can get a dog if we want. I’m not really sure what else because I can’t remember what it is like to own our own place,” Cook said.

In addition to the benefits of the families, HFH also brings together communities through its volunteer aspect. The association is always looking for volunteers on worksites in Westford, Tewksbury, or at the Habitat ReStore in Tyngsboro. It does not require experience but a can-do attitude.

“Habitat Lowell provides the opportunity for an engaging way to do community service locally, people from Westford can come out and volunteer with us – whether it be building, fundraising or attending one of our fundraising events,” Brenda Gould, Executive Director of HFHGL, said. 

As for fundraisers, HFH has events at local restaurants. At Panera Bread in Westford there is a “Raise Some Dough” Dining for a Cause fundraiser on November 9th from 4-8 pm, and another at MOOYAH Burgers in Billerica on December 27 from 4-9 pm.  The organization’s largest event is the “Raise the Roof” Gala and Auction on March 2 at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center, which raises $100,000 towards HFH’s funds. Specifically among Westford Public Schools, from September 25 to October 31, a Spare Change Drive happened, where pocket change contributed to home construction. 

“Families who own homes are fully vested in the community. [HFH] want[s] to see Westford thrive, they care about town government and hopefully our families will become a vibrant part of the community,” Gould remarked.

For more information on volunteer opportunities, visit www.lowellhabitat.org or contact HFHGL’s Community Outreach Director, Lisa Garvey at 978-692-0927. HFH can always use WA student volunteers; to help out at the “Raise the Roof” Gala and Auction, contact Heidi Tierney at [email protected] / 978-692-0927.   

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