• October 19, 2019
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Queens Chronicle

Building a better house

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Posted: Thursday, August 8, 2019 10:30 am

All things being equal, Habitat for Humanity — the 43-year-old nonprofit organization — would prefer to renovate old houses and turn them over to first-time homeowners in need of family housing.

But the long-abandoned house on 132nd Street in South Richmond Hill was in such bad shape, it became only the second time the group tore down a home and built a new one from the ground up, officials said.

Using volunteer and professional labor, most Habitat houses can go from gunk to glow in six months.

This house, which will not be offered to a qualified new owner until fall, will likely take a year to complete.

On an 80-degree day last week, 28 volunteers from the American Montessori Society in Manhattan took the subway to spend 10 hours framing the second floor.

“This is the first time for us,” said Tim Purnell, CEO of AMS, the agency that accredits and advocates for Montessori schools in the U.S. “We shut down the office for the day and everyone came out.

“We’re definitely coming back and doing it again.”

As volunteer crews have done before them, AMS workers scrawled a message on an interior wall, above center, staking claim to the work they’d done.

— Michael Shain

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