BURRILLVILLE – Twenty volunteers from BankNewport were scheduled to join Habitat for Humanity of the West Bay and Northern RI on Friday, August 5, to assist with construction of a new, affordable home in the Oakland section of Burrillville.
A first shift crew, which arrived at the house at 8:30 a.m. Friday morning, included an all-female bank staff of ten, who went to work hammering, sawing and installing siding on the Oakland School Street structure.
The bank volunteers worked under the guidance of Habitat construction professionals, also creating a learning experience for those not experienced with building.
“They have a schedule,” BankNewport Executive Vice President and Chief Engagement Officer Wendy Kagan said of the Habitat team. “We do what these gentlemen tell us to do. It just ended up being girl power this morning.”
A national organization that has been building homes for those with inadequate shelter for four decades, Habitat operates on the principal is that everyone deserves a decent, affordable place to live. The West Bay & Northern Rhode Island chapter, one of four in the state, purchased the property in Burrillville in 2020.
The previously vacant lot, one of two in the neighborhood Habitat bought for $35,000, will soon hold a completed duplex to be occupied by two families who earned their space, in part, through sweat equity. The Habitat program requires that program recipients contribute 300 hours of building labor.
Once complete, houses are sold to qualifying families at no profit, through affordable, no-interest loans. The organization has worked several houses in Burrillville, including transformation of a lodge on Wallum Lake Road, and rehabilitation of a house on Fox Run Drive to accommodate a wheelchair-bound homeowner.
Work in Oakland began last fall with pouring the foundation, and the structure is now on track for completion around Thanksgiving, according to longtime Habitat volunteer Earl Marsh.
“They usually work here on Saturdays,” said Marsh of the recipient families. “They can have friends and relatives help them.”
“They’re doing really well. They’re right on schedule,” he added.
On Friday, it was the BankNewport team contributing labor, working on landscaping, soffit installation and more in pink hard hats.
“They provide everything,” said Kagan.
The perks included lunch brought in by Habitat before the second shift crew was set to arrive.
Construction has yet to begin on a second lot in Oakland just across the street from the current build.