Mike Posko, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake, stands on the site of a Habitat for Humanity development which will be built in the Orchard Ridge community in northeast Baltimore.

Mike Posko, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake, stands on the site of a Habitat for Humanity development which will be built in the Orchard Ridge community in northeast Baltimore. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / March 9, 2012)

The local branch of Habitat for Humanity has already received several properties as part of a nationwide commitment by Bank of America to donate 2,000 vacant homes to the affordable housing organization.

“These donations can make a dramatic difference for so many Habitat affiliates, increasing their suitable property inventory,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International, in a statement this week. Habitat’s outposts across the U.S. are receiving the homes from Bank of America on a case-by-case basis, as they become available.

Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake, which covers Baltimore city and Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Howard counties, has already taken on three vacant properties from the bank and is considering a fourth property, said Mike Posko, the group’s head.

The local affiliate paid settlement costs for the transfer of the three properties, all in Baltimore County, Posko said.

“It’s a good deal for us,” he said. It’s less expensive to pay settlement costs and make minor repairs to a vacant home than it is to build a home from the ground up, Posko said.

“They’re in fairly decent shape,” Posko said of the three homes Habitat of the Chesapeake has accepted so far from Bank of America. They’ve required work such as patching up walls, cleaning and replacing appliances, he said.

The Chesapeake affiliate currently has about 300 families on the waiting list for homes, Posko said. The future homeowners selected by Habitat for its houses are required to put sweat equity into their home and pay off an affordable 30-year mortgage, he said.

The Baltimore-area affiliate hopes to put about 50 families into homes during the current fiscal year, he said. 

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