Habitat for Humanity is turning its attention to Braintree, mobilizing a local chapter of the organization to help build an affordable housing unit in town.
According to Martine Taylor, executive director for Habitat for Humanity, the organization serves 35 cities and towns, each with its own local partnership committee.
Typically, once Habitat procures land in a town -- purchasing it through the Affordable Housing Trust, by donation, or by some other means -- the organization prompts a committee to rally volunteers that will help to construct the house.
In Braintree, however, the organization is reversing the order.
“We don’t have land in Braintree, but we want to get people interested, so ultimately when we get a piece of land, we will have the parts and pieces together,” Taylor said.
As a result, locals have banded together to start collecting donations and support from others wishing to help out.
Already, the Braintree Committee is meeting on the second Wednesday of every month at Braintree Town Hall, and members are building excitement about the project.
“It’s individuals who believe in their town, who believe in affordable housing, who believe in fostering neighborhood partnerships, and it’s from the ground level,” Taylor said. “You’re part of a community, organization, but [it’s community members] bringing this effort forward.”
This will be Braintree’s fifth Habitat for Humanity house. The previous ones were built in 1994, 2003, 2004 and 2008.
Although it’s a desire of the community to bring in more affordable housing, it’s also a need, Taylor said.
According to Taylor, the state target is for each community to have at least 10 percent of its housing be classified as affordable. In Braintree, that figure is 7.9 percent.
“There is no other developer out there that can produce affordable housing as cheaply as we can, because we use volunteers, volunteer labor, and in-kind donations,” Taylor said.
At this point, Taylor hopes that the organization might possibly be building within a year.
“Within the next year, we’d love to be building in Braintree. But we don’t have plans right now to break ground because we don’t have a piece of property,” Taylor said.
In the meantime, Habitat is looking for community members who want to donate their time, talent, or treasures, Taylor said.
“There are people who cant put another committee in their lives but they could write a check. [There are] those who aren’t interested in being chair of the fundraising committee, but could be helping at a particular event," he said.
"Some people are active with other groups like the farmers market, where they could man a table for us, and tell about what habitat is. And [then there are] those who want to come volunteer to build,” Taylor said. “We also have our annual gala, golf tournament. People can go to our website to find out what ways to get involved. Also coming to a local partnership committee will be how you get involved in terms of Braintree.”