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Harford students begin building new Habitat Susquehanna home

Harford students begin building new Habitat Susquehanna home
A Harford Tech student helps Bank of America Vice President Janet Currie in building a Habitat home at the school.

Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna has teamed up with volunteers from Bank of America and Harford Technical High School to begin building a new home.

Students planned lessons and became the teachers during Bank of America's recent third Global Build, a weeklong event during which Bank of America and its employees partner with Habitat to address affordable housing challenges and revitalize communities across the United States and around the world.

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The Harford County project was selected as one of only 85 worldwide, and Habitat Susquehanna was awarded a $50,000 grant for the build, according to Bank of America, which brought 19 volunteers to work on the home's foundation.

Janet Currie, senior vice president, greater Maryland market manager, Enterprise Business & Community Engagement for Bank of America, joined the volunteers.

"This is a unique Habitat opportunity for Bank of America, because not only are we able to contribute financially to the project, but we have volunteers that come to the high school," she said. "We are able to interact with the students for whom this experience can also lead to careers in the future."

"So, it's meaningful that we're able to work with the students and ultimately that we're building a home for a family right here in the high school," Currie said.

Harford Tech students have built homes at the school since 2006. This eighth home will feature cutting edge green technology, as the five most recent "Habi-Tech" homes have.

More than 650 students across the trades programs offered at Harford Tech have worked on these homes, learning all aspects of home design and construction. The home design is aimed at being "net-zero" for energy use and cost.

Habitat Susquehanna is the non-profit housing organization devoted to building affordable homes and providing critical repairs in partnership with low-income families and the community.

"A lack of decent, affordable housing remains a critical challenge for many individuals and families. In Harford County, nearly half of renters (48 percent) pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent and over 35 percent of mortgage holders have unaffordable housing payments," Habitat's executive director Karen Blandford said. "We appreciate our partnership with the local high schools, both Harford Tech and C. Milton Wright. We are grateful for Bank of America's commitment to our work, and we have fun showing off this wonderful program."

"The opportunity to work on the Habitat house is important to Harford Technical High School and our construction students," Harford Tech principal Chas Hagan said. "What I find to be the most important part of this project is that the school, the community, the volunteers, the families and corporations literally work hand in hand to produce something for a struggling family; and the house they produce means that a struggling family will have their own home."

"That is the connection that our students learn that cannot be learned anywhere else, and I hope that they will carry with them and that they will replicate throughout the rest of their life," Hagan added.

Bank of America has sponsored all eight of the Harford Tech home builds, plus 11 more home build projects, and named Habitat Susquehanna one of its Neighborhood Builder grantees in 2009.

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