ELKTON — Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna will embark on creating a home for an Elkton family in the upcoming weeks, looking to demolish a long-empty property on the west side of town and building a new one in its place.
“This project has been in the works forever it seems,” Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna Executive Director Karen Blandford told the Whig. “We had to go through a very, very long process, with the Historic District and the use of federal funds, but we are there.”
The house at 238 W. Main St. is not able to be renovated for a family, Blandford said. It was found to be not structurally sound and full of mold after years of neglect, she said.
According to state records, the house was bought in 2016 by Atlantic Management Associates, which is managed by County Executive Alan McCarthy. Later that same year, McCarthy donated the property to Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna free of charge.
“It is really rare to get a donation for property,” Blandford said. “Typically, we buy property. Our whole purpose is to build affordable housing, and the Elkton market is typically more expensive than where we normally operate. If the house wasn’t donated, then we wouldn’t be able to do it.”
McCarthy told the Whig on Wednesday that he owned the house for roughly 10 years with Atlantic Management Associates partners. When the partnership dissolved, the assets were split and McCarthy was left with the house.
“Habitat for Humanity has a good mission in providing affordable housing for those in need of it, and I am very appreciative for the work that they do,” McCarthy said of his reason to donate the home. “It’s a great public service.”
Habitat for Humanity International, headquartered in Georgia with local stations throughout the country and the world, is a nonprofit entity that builds houses for low-income families with the help of volunteers and donors.
Homeowners go through a screening process, and are expected to put in 250 hours of “sweat equity” and work alongside volunteers building the house.
Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna, which serves Harford and Cecil counties, uses the U.S. Department of Agriculture 502 Direct Loan Program to build new homes.
But since Elkton was recently deemed not rural by the USDA program, Blandford said the demolition and rebuild would be the last project in Elkton.
The new house, to be built for a single mother and her daughter, will be a two-story home with three bedrooms, matching other houses in the neighborhood. The entire project should be done within six months.
Beyond the Elkton project, Habitat For Humanity Susquehanna is continuing its work in Cecil County, with one project finished in Perryville and another on the way in 2020.
Habitat For Humanity Susquehanna has also started a partnership with the Cecil County School of Technology to continue its mission of affordable housing for those in need. CCST students traditionally builds a modular house as hands-on experience. Now Habitat will use those houses in some future projects.
For more information about how to get involved with Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna, visit habitatsusq.org.