FREEPORT – Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland celebrated with Nyapeni Doulthan and her family on Tuesday, with the dedication of their new home at 3 Hunningbird Lane in Freeport.

The Doulthan family moved in last Friday, and becomes the first to reside at the Hummingbird Lane subdivision, which will consist of two triplexes and one duplex once it is complete. The Doulthans’ residence is a triplex.

Laura Duplissis, communications and volunteer manager for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland, said last week that Doulthan has worked hard to provide for her children.

“Having grown up in South Sudan, Nyapeni Doulthan is accustomed to struggle and hard work,” Duplissis said. “After living in Cairo, Egypt, for five years, she moved to Portland 15 years ago. In that time she has worked hard to establish roots and create a sense of home for her family. After years of working as a teacher’s assistant in the Portland schools and raising her four children, Nyapeni didn’t believe she’d ever have the ability to purchase her own home. When a friend told her about Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland she decided to look into it.”

Doulthan told the Tri-Town Weekly last April that she had little expectation of being chosen for the program. On the night before Thanksgiving 2012, she received a phone call asking her to come to the Habitat office on Bell Street in Portland to fill out more paperwork.

“When I walked into the office everyone was standing up. I thought something was wrong,” she said. “They told me I was accepted. It was unbelievable.”

Doulthan said she plans to continue volunteering with Habitat and become an active community member in her new hometown.

Habitat for Humanity has an eligibility guideline that families earn between 30 and 80 percent of the median income in Cumberland County. According to the U.S. Census, the county’s median income in 2010, the most recent year available, was $57,159. Mark Primeau, a development associate for Habitat, said that the organization is just getting into building multi-family dwellings.

“It’s allowed us to put six units on the property, instead of one or two units,” Primeau said.

Primeau said that the units cost about $180,000 to build. House payments are adjusted according to income, he said.

“The first mortgage, or monthly payment, is based on affordability,” he said. “Then, there is a silent second note that will disappear over time.”

Primeau said that Habitat for Humanity planned the Hummingbird Lane project, located off West Street, for more than four years. Work began on an access road and then on the buildings themselves a year ago, he said.

As always, many hands went into the project.

“On average, to build a house, it takes about 700 volunteers,” he said. “Everybody who’s working feels pretty passionate. It’s a win-win.”

According to Habitat for Humanity, the home is part of the Women Build project, Habitat for Humanity’s program for women who want to learn construction skills and build homes and communities. Women Build is underwritten by Lowe’s. In partnership with the Women Build committee, hundreds of volunteers, and Doulthan herself, worked on the home.

Doulthan did not return calls seeking comment this week, but Duplissis said that Doulthan has made her gratitude well known.

“She spoke in November, at our annual dinner in Portland, and she’s fantastic,” Duplissis said. “She’s a great ambassador for Habitat.”

Local contractors also donate their time when available. The building materials are bought through a combination of grants, donations and sponsorship through Lowe’s. The lumber is purchased from Maine-based Hancock Lumber, which provides a discount.

The development is the second one in Freeport for Habitat for Humanity, as the organization completed the construction of three units on South Street two years ago.

Nyapeni Doulthan relaxes at her new Habitat for Humanity home in Freeport.  


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