Habitat for Humanity completes 8th Martha’s Vineyard home

Volunteers who helped to build the house, and friends of the Fragosa family gathered at 49 Bailey Park Road Sunday to celebrate. — Photo by Michelle Williams

After waiting 18 months, the Fragosa family is ready to move into their new home located at 49 Bailey Park Road in West Tisbury

Joe, Jennifer, and their six-year-old daughter Briana will purchase the eighth Island house built by the Habitat for Humanity of Martha’s Vineyard. At a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, volunteers who worked on the home gathered with family and friends of the Fragosas to celebrate its completion.

A small crowd listened as Doug Ruskin, president of the Habitat board of directors, thanked volunteers for their 2,600 hours of work on the house. Habitat volunteers did everything from shingle to paint to dig holes to insulate the home. “Although we built this house, we couldn’t have done it without the support of the community,” he said.

The home on Bailey Park Road is one of three being built by Habitat on neighboring lots. While the Fragosas will own the home, they will not own the land. The Island Housing Trust will hold the land through a 99-year renewable ground lease with the owners, helping to assure the property will stay in the affordable housing pool.

The house was formerly located along State Road in West Tisbury, behind the Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank. Donated by the bank,it was moved in two parts to its new location. The bank paid to move the house, and for the installation and foundation of the home.

Currently, the family lives in a one-bedroom apartment in West Tisbury, where space is tight for the family of three.

While providing a tour of the house, Ms. Fragosa said she is excited about the extra space the house will offer. “Right now our bedroom is also our office. It will be nice to have separate rooms for everything,” she said.

Briana said her favorite rooms are her bedroom, which her mother painted her favorite color, purple, and the basement. “I’ve never had a basement before,” Briana said, while petting Spice.

Through Habitat, the couple has a 20-year mortgage with a zero percent interest rate.

Mr. Ruskin said that Habitat’s mission is to help those in need, but make sure families can pay the mortgage. “Our goal is for families to be able to afford their mortgage; sometimes it is less than they were paying in rent,” he said.

Mr. Fragosa is an aborist who owns Water Views Tree Service, based in West Tisbury. Ms. Fragosa is a water safety instructor, translates Portuguese medical documents and home-schools her daughter.

The couple were notified that they were chosen for the home in December 2010.

Chosen families pay not only the mortgage, but must also put in at least 500 volunteer hours working on the house. Ms. Fragosa said she and her husband worked more than 600 hours on their home. “I learned a lot about shingling, and spent a great deal of time painting.”

Habitat for Humanity International, founded in 1976, has built or remodeled some 400,000 homes around the world. In addition to its trademark building process, the Vineyard affiliate will also be using the organization’s protocol for selecting “family partners” as owners. The assessment takes into account the willingness to work on the home, their financial situation, and their need.

To the group gathered to congratulate the family, Mr. Fragosa said, “We really can’t express our gratitude enough. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.”

To find out more about Habitat, call executive director Neal Sullivan at 508-696-4646, or at houses@habitatmv.org.

This article has been revised to reflect a correction to a quote by president of Habitat for Humanity of Martha’s Vineyard Doug Ruskin.