It was bitterly cold but the spirit was warm in Orient this morning, when more than two dozen volunteers from all over Suffolk County gathered to raise the first Habitat for Humanity home in the town of Southold.
The process of finding a suitable property for a Habitat house in Southold has been a long one. This property, on Greenwood East, just minutes from Orient Point, had long been an eyesore, and it was reclaimed by Suffolk County due to non-payment of taxes several years ago.
The county, through its 72-h transfer program, gave the property to Southold Town, which in turn gave it to Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk to build a house.
Last July, Michael Bredemeyer, 26, who works at Orient Beach State Park and has lived in Orient his whole life, was selected to buy the house, which he will help Habitat volunteers build.
His mother, Beverly Bredemeyer, watched as the crews put up the first two walls of the building Thursday morning.
“I drive past this place every day, to see what’s going on,” said Ms. Bredemeyer, who has been bringing hot beverages out to the crews as they begin work. She expects the house to be ready for her son to move in by the end of the year.
Michael is still living at home, she said, and she’s been scouring sales, buying furniture to help him make his new house a home.
Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk CEO Diane Burke watched as the first two walls went up. Work had begun just before 9 a.m., and she expected the four walls to be up by lunchtime.
She said most of her group’s houses have been in western Suffolk, but the chapter, which is based in Middle Island, has built houses in Sound Beach and Mastic in the past.
Volunteers this morning came from all over, and ranged from an engineer who volunteered his time to inspect the finished work to a crew of 10 workers from the First Presbyterian Church of Southold.
When the house is finished, Mr. Bredemeyer will pay a mortgage within his means, and the house will remain affordable in perpetuity if he decides at some point to move away.
Many building materials for the project were donated, said Ms. Burke.
“There’s a joke that Habitat houses have a lot of extra nails in them, because we’re not paying for nails,” she said.
Habitat workers will be at the site three to four days a week, said Habitat Communications Manager Steph Busia.
Volunteers are welcome throughout the construction, and can get involved by visiting Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk‘s website, or emailing Ms. Busia at Steph@habitatsuffolk.org.