Meet James - Homebuyer Education Student Building His Homeownership Dreams!

On a recent bright, sunny Friday, James Howell carried chairs, cabinets and other high-quality home goods onto the floor of the Halethorpe ReStore and rung up purchases, thanking everyone for helping Habitat Chesapeake build more home. James is one of more than 1,500 dedicated volunteers that work in our ReStores each year, but he’s special for one simple reason: he’s about to be a Habitat homeowner. With every ReStore purchase James processed, he was literally helping to build his own home and those of his neighbors.

For James and other homebuyers, the connection between ReStores and Habitat’s mission is clear. It takes a lot of funds to build 15 - 20 houses per year and ReStores net $600,000+ annually - enough to build at least 4 homes. In exchange for affordable, zero-interest mortgages, homebuyers like James give 250 sweat equity hours on the construction sites, in homebuyer education classes and in ReStores.

Each Habitat family has a unique story. James, for example, grew up in a beekeeping family in upstate New York, but over the past decade has lived in 9 states and wants to settle down, leave the expensive rent cycle and build equity. One things that’s true about all Habitat homebuyers is that they are hardworking and striving to build a better life for themselves and their family. James is no exception.  In addition to participating in Habitat’s homebuyer program, he works full-time at Amazon and is studying to become a dental hygienist. It is crystal clear that James has mastered the art of balancing the many demands of life, while staying laser-focused on his goals.

To join James and other Habitat homebuyers as they build a better life for themselves and other families in need, visit or call 443-297-5226 and sign up for a ReStore volunteer shift. Interested in becoming a Habitat homebuyer yourself? Visit or call 410-366-1250 to get started! 


Like James' Story? Support Habitat Chesapeake's mission of building affordable housing in the local community! To make a donation and double your impact click the donate button below.