Our 750th Home - Onward and Upward to More Homes, Communities & Hope!

When Habitat Chesapeake’s Construction Site Supervisor Gary Mitchell stood facing the crowd at his Sandtown home dedication in the early 1990’s, the only thought in his mind was trying not to cry as he accepted the keys to his beautiful new home. “The feeling I had on that day,” he says, “was the same feeling of those who’d received a Habitat home before me - like my own mother who received her own home years prior, all those that are presently receiving homes and those that will be blessed with their own home in the future.” For Habitat homeowners like Gary, we see time and again the overwhelming emotion that comes from having a home of their own. In a region with an increasingly high cost-of-living, having affordable payments, a safe place to raise a family, and a growing community around them creates a palpable sense of a brighter future and stability.


This month, two more deserving homeowners will stand before Habitat Chesapeake partners, volunteers, and staff to accept the keys to their new home - marking the organization’s 750th home dedication to date! Of course, this is just a mile marker on a long road ahead. We currently have twelve deserving families powering through “sweat equity” hours as their homes are being built, and we continue to receive dozens of inquiries each week. Our application process is rigorous and so are our guidelines, to ensure that we serve families who will be successful and who are willing to be partners throughout the program and beyond. Every Habitat Chesapeake family is screened for income and credit worthiness, and once accepted to the program, dedicates 250+ “sweat equity” hours building their own home and others, attending community events, working in Habitat ReStores and participating in homebuyer education classes, which cover everything from monthly budgeting to basic home improvement.


Ultimately, our goal is to make Habitat homeowners feel as confident and prepared as possible, so they can maximize all of the benefits that come with owning a home - including a sense of peace and stability, improved physical and mental health, better academic success for children and an opportunity to build wealth across generations. And, our homebuyers aren’t the only ones that benefit. Every new Habitat home helps to stabilize and grow a neighborhood - bringing visible investment, engaged new families and a sense of vibrancy and community. We need look no further than Gary Mitchell, who has been volunteering with Habitat since age 12, became a Habitat homeowner and now builds homes as a Habitat staffer during the day, while spending his evenings and weekends running an after-school program that teaches young people in Sandtown how to repair bicycles and earn their own through community service.

We are incredibly grateful to all of the hardworking homeowners, volunteers, community partners and donors who have contributed to raising 750 homes over the past 35 years - giving 2,500+ family members and 15 underserved communities a brighter future. As we celebrate this milestone, we look forward to telling more stories like Gary’s. Onward and upward, to more homes, communities and hope!