From Blight to Bright: 1522 Presstman!

When you drive down the 1500 block of Presstman Street in Sandtown on a weekday morning, you are met with throngs of young children dressed in school uniforms, laughing, waving and kissing their parents and caregivers goodbye for the day as they enter New Song Learning Center. A few blocks away, the Habitat ReStore is opening for the day - a staple in the community, where residents chat amicably with store staff in between buying low cost building materials, tools, furniture and more. On the streets between these two institutions, stand more than 330 homes constructed and rehabilitated by Habitat for Humanity. They are part of a 25-year commitment to the community that once was home to jazz greats Cab Calloway and Billie Holliday and groundbreaking Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall; a commitment that began with a Sandtown Habitat affiliate and continues today, following a merger, under Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake.

From blight to bright, Habitat Chesapeake’s work in this vibrant community is far from done. Over the next three years alone, we will be rehabilitating 14 homes - including a nearly-complete three-story beauty next to the aforementioned New Song Learning Center. Like many long-vacant properties, 1522 Presstman was severely damaged when we took ownership and required all hands on deck to restore. Over the course of a year-and-a-half, we brought together community members, corporate volunteers, college students, construction crews, and our HabiCorps Workforce Development Program team to transform a once 3-sided abandoned structure into a happy, warm home, ready for a family. In fact, this was the very first house HabiCorps trainees worked on and was a powerful learning experience given the extensive work needed. Now, nearly complete, it is a lasting reminder of our trainees’ hard work and determination.

Neighboring New Song Learning Center, the house is striking and features energy-efficient floor-to-ceiling windows, three bedrooms, central air conditioning, brand new appliances, and character that cannot be beat. Soon, a deserving Habitat Chesapeake family with two young children will move in, paying an affordable, zero-interest mortgage that frees other income for school supplies, afterschool programs, good food on the table and more. Surrounded by a caring community of families that have lived in Sandtown for generations, we could not be more excited for the family that will turn this beautiful house into a home.

Thank you to all of the donors, volunteers and community leaders for your support, as we continue to build homes, communities and hope in Sandtown!


Help us build more homes, communities and hope! Support Habitat Chesapeake's mission of building affordable housing in the local community! To make a donation and click the donate button below.