Caroljean D’Aquila spoke of Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk at our regular meeting on Wednesday, March 20th.
Caroljean is a Development Associate for Community Outreach and a Volunteer Coordinator for the organization.
Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk is an independently operated affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International.  Their mission is to work in partnership with thousands of Suffolk County volunteers and responsible, low income families of all races, religions, and creeds to build and renovate homes so that there are decent houses in decent communities in which underserved families can live and grow.
Habitat Suffolk’s goal is to build an average of 10-12 houses annually, building for as long as needed to make sure every family in Suffolk County has a simple, decent and affordable place to live and call home.
Caroljean explained that the homes they build are sold for the cost of construction to low to moderate income families. All families are thoroughly vetted, must qualify for a mortgage, and put in at least 300 “sweat equity” hours of work toward building the home. She also mentioned that the mortgage default rate over a 30-year period has been just five percent.
Habitat Suffolk receives donated new and slightly used building supplies and home furnishings, which they sell at their ReStore warehouse, a retail outlet open to the public, to help fund construction of new homes. Property is also donated, although Habitat must sometimes invest substantial funds to prepare it for home construction.
Habitat Suffolk will break ground to begin work on their 200th home this summer. Almost all work is done by volunteers.
Funds are raised through sponsorships by corporate and other organizations, and through annual fundraisers such as the upcoming Habitat Hoedown, April 26th at the Marriott Residence Inn in Riverhead.
Caroljean is shown above with Babylon Rotary Co-Presidents Charlie Spencer and Scott Lockwood.