CENTREVILLE — Tuckahoe Habitat for Humanity President Andrew Hanson presented Rozaline Collins-Spence of Grasonville the keys for her long-awaited home Friday evening, Nov. 8. The new two-story, four-bedroom, two-bath house is located at 314 Little Kidwell Ave., Centreville.
The Rev. Chris Pettit of Centreville United Methodist Church offered a prayer of dedication.
He said, “We pray for this family and for the memories that will be made under this roof … and the many gatherings of friends and family who will find joy within these walls. We also pray a prayer of blessing on all who have been a part of making this day possible, those who gave of their time, those who gave financially, who provided supplies. We thank you for all your saints. Bless those who work to eliminate poverty, homelessness, prejudice and oppression.”
Hanson thanked members of the community for their efforts in seeing the house to completion.
“This is the first Habitat for Humanity home ever in Queen Anne’s County, and this is a ‘big deal’,” he said.
The 20 people in attendance applauded as 41-year-old Spence accepted the keys.
“The Habitat Chapter in Queen Anne’s-Caroline has existed for the past 25 years. Queen Anne’s County was adopted into the Caroline Chapter three years ago, so Queen Anne’s has been involved in the program as long,” Hanson said. “The slowness of having a Habitat home built here in Queen Anne’s has been a lack of donated building lots.
“Most of the lots built by Habitat are donated to Habitat outright. That has not happened in Queen Anne’s County, thus far. It has happened in Caroline County, and a number of homes have been built there over the years. We’re still looking for building lots to be donated here in Queen Anne’s for future homes.”
Hanson added, “Queen Anne’s County has the highest percentage of home ownership of all counties in the state of Maryland.”
Construction Manager Ray Spradling of Centreville took over completion of the Habitat home in February of this year. Spradling, who has more than 30 years professional experience in home construction, told those gathered for the dedication, “I’d like to talk about the most important people in the world to me — the volunteers who labored, many week after week, to make this house a reality. I want each of you to know that not only have you have done something magnificent here, your generosity and kindness has inspired and overwhelmed me.”
He added, “Some people have the misconception that Habitat gives houses away. Far from it. We offer a hand up, not a hand out. Habitat is the story of a bunch of otherwise unrelated people that come together every week to help someone they didn’t even know (at least not in the beginning). We are most thankful to help deserving people.”
Spence’s mortgage was financed through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with a special mortgage rate offered to make Habitat homes more affordable.
Following the dedication, Spradling said, “This home is extremely energy efficient, very well insulated, and has a 20 SEER heat pump for great heating and air conditioning. It should make for reasonable utility expenses.”
Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 as a Christian organization, “Seeking to put God’s love into action, bringing people together to build homes, community and hope,” from the mission statement listed on the international website. The website it states: “The benefits that safe and affordable shelter can have on families and communities who partner with Habitat for Humanity can be long-lasting and life-changing.”
Principle number 1 in Habitat efforts is, “Demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ.” Habitat also has a “non-proselytizing policy” — no pre-conditions for people helped to conform to or join any particular denomination of any church or particular religious faith. The stated cause is: “We build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter.”
The first Habitat house in QA took nearly three years to complete since its ground breaking. It doesn’t usually take three years to build a Habitat for Humanity house, but this one had some bumps in the road to completion. There was a change in Chapter leadership, change in overseeing contractor, and a last minute delay when the water pressure in the house was discovered to be too low for the new water sprinkler systems now required for new homes built in Maryland. The water pressure was brought up to regulation, and the house passed inspection.
Spence is originally from Dover, Del., and moved to Queen Anne’s County when she was 16. She graduated from Queen Anne’s County High School with the Class of 1995.
Spence qualified to receive a Habitat for Humanity home back in 2011. She was offered the chance to purchase a Habitat house in Denton back then, but she turned it down, saying, “I would’ve had to move my children to Caroline County schools, and I like the Queen Anne’s schools. Plus, I would’ve had to drive much further to work. I like living closer to work.”
One of the requirements to be considered for a Habitat home is the applicant must volunteer to help in the building, not only of the home they will eventually receive, but also with other Habitat homes that are under construction. According to Hanson, Spence has provided over 1,000 volunteer hours working at Habitat homes in the area over the years.
Spence works two jobs. She works full time at the Dunkin’ Donuts in Chester. She also works part time at the Subway in Chester, where she has been employed 20 years and was previously the store manager before transitioning to part time.
She is a single mother of four children, two who are now adults, ages 22 and 19. Her children still living at home are 16 and 14.
To all those over the past three years who have helped in building the house, Spence said, “Thank you very much!”
Anyone who has land to donate is urged to contact Habitat for Humanity. Spradling said, “There are ways to structure the donation that provide significant tax benefits to the donor.”