DOVER — Wes Stefanick, CEO of the Delaware Association of Realtors, had a satisfied look on his face as he glanced around at the 80 or so volunteers from his organization that gave up their Friday last week for a chance to help others.
Members of the Delaware Association of Realtors (DAR) and other volunteers teamed up for the first Double Framing Frenzy ever for Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity (CDHFH) at Dover International Speedway on a picture-perfect Friday.
“We’re really excited,” Mr. Stefanick said. “We started out planning for only (framing) one home with two levels, but it turned into being two homes, which was a great surprise.
“My members had a lot of fun and we’re very happy to help these families and help Habitat promote affordable and attainable housing, not just here in Dover, but across the state.”
The volunteers framed the first floor of a pair of new Habitat homes that will be located on South Queen Street in downtown Dover and are expected to be completed in February 2022.
Danielle Tolson and her three children will make up one of the two families that will see their dreams of home ownership realized early next year.
“I’m actually excited. This is really a blessing,” Ms. Tolson said. “This part right here is the best part, the building part. I got approved and I was happy and excited, but I think this is more exciting.
“My children are really looking forward to it. We’ll have more space and everything, so we’re excited. This will be my first home and, hopefully, it won’t be my last. This is a starting process and I’m just very excited.”
This has been a difficult year for Tim Bailey, executive director of the CDHFH, and the nonprofit organization as it has had to overcome numerous challenges.
“This year we have only finished two (houses), but that’s largely due to the pandemic and lumber shortage, supply and demand is tough, and just the cost of operating is a lot higher these days,” Mr. Bailey said. “The cost of land is tough.
“But we’ll be back at it next year. We’ve got six (new houses) on our schedule with another six behind that.”
Mr. Bailey said that despite all the challenges it’s hard to get discouraged when he sees the looks on the faces of family members as they prepare to move into their new homes.
He said that volunteers from DAR made that process move forward for another two families on Friday with the Double Framing Frenzy event.
“People that may never have been on a job site before come out and they sort of learn about the Habitat program and get to meet the families that are going into these homes,” Mr. Bailey said. “Then they get to help actually build the exterior walls of the house that will actually be transferred to the site and will forever be a part of their home.
“It’s a great experience for all of the folks with Delaware Association of Realtors, but it’s also a great experience for us as a group because our mission is bringing people together to build affordable homes, communities, and hope.”
Dylan Grimes, development director for Kent County Habitat, was impressed at the work that took place in the back parking lot of Dover International Speedway on Friday.
“We’ve never done a Double Framing Frenzy, we’ve normally done just one,” she said. “So. the fact that we got to frame two whole rancher-style homes was incredible.
“We started at 8:30 or 9’ish in the morning and we finished at 11, so we finished in two hours.”
They had planned on the event taking until 2 p.m., but the determined volunteers had other ideas.
It’s that kind of can-do attitude that has Mr. Bailey excited about the future for the CDHFH.
“It’s very exciting,” said Mr. Bailey. “As things start to loosen up a little bit, organizations are starting to look to us again for experiences and how they can support affordable housing efforts.
“We will definitely have (these two houses) halfway done by the end of the year, but these are targeted for a February finish.”
For Mr. Bailey and other members of his organization, it was nice to get back to work last Friday. It was good to be home.
“We’re executing all parts of our mission,” he said. “We’re bringing more than 80 people together, and we’re building two affordable homes, which are going to be a part of a community that desperately needs the help.”