On August 3, 2019, the second Buzzards Bay Area Habitat for Humanity home in the Tri-Town broke ground in Mattapoisett. The Route 6 parcel was donated by David and Jessica Nicolosi. The couple also donated excavation services.
Over time as the project motored along through the fall and winter months, the number of sub-contractors and suppliers grew to an astounding 27 different businesses including local banking services. The basement’s concrete was poured, framing for the single-family home went up, and various other “rough-in” processes were completed.
Then in March 2020, everything came to an abrupt halt as this project, along with everything else except the basics for survival, was impacted by the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic. “COVID-19 shut us down,” said Buzzards Bay Area Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Christine Lacourse, who added that while there was always a plan to restart the construction, it was a very disheartening period of time for both the prospective homeowner and the BBAHH.
Work had resumed in May 2020, Lacourse said, after a two-and-a-half-month delay. On July 31, at last, the roof was placed on the home, nearly a full year from the groundbreaking ceremony. It was clear things were once again moving and in the right direction.
Lacourse said that under normal circumstances, the HH model utilizes almost exclusively volunteered labor, but, “We couldn’t do that this time.” She explained that given the projected timeline for completion, it has become necessary to use “professionals.” Lacourse pointed out that the roofing company donated the labor while another business has donated the roofing materials. “Without their help we couldn’t get things done.”
Other professional trades that have committed to donate labor will be the drywall installers, plasterers, and painters, but Lacourse added, “There will be volunteers as well.” She also added that the project is still seeking donations.
As for the soon-to-be, first-time homeowner, a single mother of two small children, she couldn’t be happier. A full-time employee working in the health care industry, Jessica hasn’t had time to dwell on her own problems, but in the back of her mind, she’s held onto the future and homeownership. “It’s such a blessing… it means everything.” She learned about Habitat for Humanity through the mother of one of her children’s friends who encouraged her to try and to complete an application.
Jessica said that she works on the home every weekend, sometimes bringing along family and friends, although only her willingness and ability to do hands-on work is expected by BBAHH. She said that the volunteers, many of whom possess building skills, have been great. “I’ve learned so much; they are good teachers,” she said.
The program requires that applicants prove US citizenship, establish need for shelter, ability to pay, willingness to partner, and be a resident of the service area. BBAHH covers the towns of Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Marion, Mattapoisett, New Bedford, Rochester, Wareham, and Westport.
Of the application process, Jessica said it was well worth the effort and that, although it was a fairly complex process, the BBAHH staff was “amazing.
“The outcome is so worth it; the children will have a home for life.”
By Marilou Newell