Habitat for Humanity buys Bristol land to build new home


They have the land, now the East Bay Chapter of Habitat for Humanity needs money, volunteers and a qualifying family to build a new home in Bristol.

Following a lengthy search for affordable, buildable land for the future site of a newly constructed home, the East Bay RI affiliate of Habitat for Humanity purchased an asphalt covered lot on Wall Street to the north, with access to Center Street to the south.

“We don’t know how the house will sit on the land yet,” said Susan Donovan, president of the chapter’s board of directors.

The chapter closed on the 7,380 square foot lot which is assessed at $101,700, in January and anticipates breaking ground by the end of the year.

“Our first step is to fund-raise,” Ms. Donovan said.

Habitat volunteers will spread the word through friends and neighbors, churches, fellow non-profit organizations, local businesses and corporations to come together to help build this new home and provide vital financial support.

“We need to have $50,000 in the bank before breaking ground,” Ms. Donovan said.

The next step, she said, is to hold community informational meetings to find qualified applicants willing to be partner families.

“People think it’s a free house,” Ms. Donovan said. “Habitat doesn’t give away houses.”

Many applicants don’t fit the eligibility requirements for a Habitat home, simply because they don’t have a job, have high credit card debt or don’t meet other eligibility requirements.

In addition to a down payment and monthly mortgage payments, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor into building their Habitat house and the houses for others. Homeowners are chosen by each affiliate based on their level of need, their willingness to become partners in the program and their ability to repay the loan.

“As we depend on volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, there’s a considerable amount of time between when we begin construction and when we turn over the keys to a new family,” Ms. Donovan said. “We’re currently looking for general contractors and construction professionals who may be interested in donating their time and talent to Habitat.”

The Habitat for Humanity East Bay affiliate serves the communities of East Providence, Barrington, Bristol, Warren, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport and Jamestown.

Construction professionals and anyone interesting in lending support to the Bristol project can contact Susan at hfhbristolri@gmail.com or (401) 253-7837. Monetary donations can be sent to Habitat for Humanity East Bay RI, PO Box 835, Newport, RI 02840.


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.