Welcome Home: Habitat Chesapeake’s First ICF Home!

A collage of pictures from a home dedication, including a welcome home sign, ribbon cutting, board members posing on the lawn in front of the home, and staff playing guitar.

Celebrating Habitat Chesapeake’s Very First ICF Home Dedication in Baltimore County

Thank you to everyone who joined Habitat Chesapeake for our June home dedication as we welcomed a new homeowner to the historic neighborhood of Halethorpe in Baltimore County!

Built in partnership with the National Ready Mix Concrete Association’s (NRMCA) “Build With Strength” coalition, this home was Habitat Chesapeake’s first home built with ICFs, or insulating concrete forms, a kind of sustainable and strong building technology. Alongside representatives from BuildBlocks ICFs and the ICF Manufacturers Association (ICFMA), as well as local supporters, this dedication also celebrated the very first ICF home in Baltimore County. 

ICFs utilize lightweight styrofoam blocks insulated with poured concrete which are stacked to form structures. BuildBlock ICFs held several training sessions onsite last year and helped provide the materials to build this three bedroom, one bathroom home. Habitat Chesapeake partnered with local concrete providers to train staff and volunteers to construct this home in less than ten days.

Over the course of eight blisteringly hot days last summer, volunteers and staff came together to stack the ICFs and pour concrete. 

“It’s been a tremendous partnership, and we are so grateful,” said Gregg Mitchell, Chief Advancement Officer at Habitat Chesapeake. “This is a truly innovative product. It’s a concrete house. There are touches all around that show that the concrete industry was involved: the driveway, the entryway, and the concrete in the forms itself. It’s the people in the concrete industry who have played a special role.”

Representatives from Chaney Enterprises as well as Glenn Cobb of Vulcan Materials Company received special recognition for their contribution to this build. Many thanks to Vulcan Materials Company, Chaney Enterprises, Andrews Construction Company, and all of our in-kind partners for providing concrete and other materials as well as volunteer support throughout the build!

I am so thankful to have your support! It means everything to me. Every time I look at my new home, this will be a constant reminder of the Habitat for Humanity program. It also warms my heart to know that purchasing my first home will help build homes for others to accomplish homeownership. That’s what it’s all about – paying it forward.”

— Donnika, Habitat Chesapeake Homebuyer

This build is also a landmark home for Baltimore County, exemplifying the power of partnerships with local government in constructing efficient, sustainable, affordable housing solutions for constituents. “We’re thanking the number of sponsors and the organization, not just for what you’ve done here, but what you’ve done nationally, for making homeownership attainable and a reality,” said Councilman Pat Young to the crowd at the dedication. Donnika and her family were also presented with a citation from Baltimore County Executive John “Johnny” Olszewski: “On behalf of the Baltimore County Executive John A. Olszewski Jr., we thank all of you for your help in creating this beautiful home and welcoming you, Donnika, to the neighborhood! May many memories be created here!”

Shining Bright

It was a special moment when Donnika, mother of two daughters and new Habitat Chesapeake homebuyer, cut the ribbon on her new home.

Since starting the homebuyer program in 2020, Donnika and her family have been hard at work preparing to buy their own home with Habitat Chesapeake, which matches partner families to homes with a zero-interest, affordable mortgage.

As she stood in front of a crowd of supporters, volunteers, staff, and corporate partners at her home dedication, she was all smiles. “The wait was all worth it. I have embraced every moment. I can remember getting through my days, completing sweat equity non-stop,” said Donnika. “Attending the homeowner and counseling classes, completing exercises, and getting the eduction that I need to obtain and maintain my home were all necessary. I never felt alone. This program has been by my side the entire time.”

“Donnika is the most delightful person in every way, and we are grateful that she chose us in her path to homeownership,” said Lauren Hughes, Director of Homeowner Services at Habitat Chesapeake. “Donnika, know that you have earned every bit of the joy that comes along with this accomplishment. Take it in and be just as proud of yourself as we are. Congratulations!”

After all the speeches, handshakes, and smiles, supporters gathered around and sang “This Little Light of Mine” in the bright morning sunshine, including a special verse – “When we build a home, we’re going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!”

Shine on, Donnika!


Thank you to Build With Strength & our partners!

Build With Strength Home Dedication partners
Did you know we’re on TikTok? Grab your friends & family and follow Habitat Chesapeake to see more videos, interviews, and more! Follow us @habitatches!
@habitatches ❓ What’s it like to become a Habitat homeowner? 🗨️ We asked Francine, our latest Habitat homebuyer in Pigtown, #Baltimore. Many of our partner homebuyers are women like Francine, who dedicate HOURS of sweat equity to work hard alongside staff and volunteers on Habitat homes. Thank you Francine for partnering with us! 💙 #WomenBuild #WomenRock #HabitatForHumanity #fyp #feelinggood #goodvibes ♬ Here Comes the Sun – Relaxing Instrumental Music


About Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake

Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake (www.habitatchesapeake.org) brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Since 1982, Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake has built more than 780 homes in 19 communities, providing a brighter future for 2,700 children and family members. Homeownership is proven to transform lives – improving health, increasing children’s chances of academic success and offering an opportunity to build wealth across generations. Likewise, homeownership enhances neighborhoods by bringing tangible investment, engaged, long-term residents, rising property values and a sense of community.