story & photo
by Chris Annino
Habitat for Humanity of SECT and the community came together as one during the week of May 31 through June 7. The 2008 Home Builders Blitz built homes at Davis Farm Way, New London, for two separate families in need – the Bondys and the Bryans.
Several years ago Tom Gripson, a custom home builder, created the concept of the Home Builders Blitz. Tom organized a team of fellow home builders. In a five day period they were able to build 12 houses with donated materials. In time, the Home Builders Blitz associated itself with Habitat for Humanity because of their mutual goals.
During the kick-off event on Saturday, May 31st many gathered to celebrate the accomplishment of building the new houses. Kevin Hogan, WFSB News Anchor and New London Bureau Chief, hosted the event. “This is a great opportunity for people to volunteer and help a person in need,” said Kevin. “There is a tremendous collaborative effort between the two companies that are working on the project. Anyone that gets involved with this type of thing, I have tremendous admiration for.”
Among the speakers were Margaret Holmberg, Board of Directors President, Habitat for Humanity of SECT, Terri O’Rourke, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity of SECT, Senator Andrea Stillman, Mayor Kevin J. Cavanagh, City of New London, Jane Dauphinais, Director, SECT Housing Alliance, Calvin Price, Vice President of Community Development and CRA Officer, Liberty Bank, Bill Ferrigno, President, HBA, Norton C. Wheeler III, Mystic River Building Company, and Bob Fusari, Sr., and Bob Fusari, Jr., Real Estate Service of CT.
A letter from Governor M. Jodi Rell commended Habitat for Humanity of SECT, Mystic River Building Company, and Real Estate Service of CT for a job well done. The letter continued that she urges the community and state to get involved with more projects like this.
Senator Andrea Stillman highlighted that when children are raised in a positive environment they grow and prosper into well functioning adults.
“In New London County there are 11,644 families with household incomes less than $35,000; and 9,600 renter households spend more than 35% of their income just on housing,” said Terri. “When hard working low income families have to spend more than 35% of their household income just on housing, being able to buy food, gas, clothing, medical services – the basic necessities – becomes impossible.”
For the two families purchasing the Builder Blitz homes, safe, stable affordable housing was a dream for a long time. The Bondy family moved 4 times in 9 years because the rental units they lived in were sold by the owner. For the Bryan family, having enough space for a family of four, and a safe yard to play in was the ultimate goal.
An orientation in regards to qualifying for affordable house through Habitat for Humanity will be held on June 18th at the Groton Public Library. For more information call 860.442.7890.