An anonymous donor inspired by Pope Francis has provided $60,000 that Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland will use to build a house in Scarborough for a Somali couple and their four children.

The donor was compelled to make the contribution in honor of the pope’s historic visit to the United States and his continued pleas for compassion, the Portland Habitat chapter said in a statement.

The house will be named in Francis’ honor.

“We are honored to be a part of a project celebrating Pope Francis and his many acts of goodwill, inclusiveness and compassion,” Godfrey Wood, executive director of the Habitat chapter, said in a statement Wednesday. “The generosity of this donor is inspiring and gives us a great start on the construction of this home.”

The house will be built, beginning in October, within the organization’s planned 13-home community on Broadturn Road in Scarborough.

Since June, crews have been working on roads, sewer lines and other infrastructure. This will be the first house completed. Eight of the 13 homes will be sold at an appraised price to approved families. The other five will be sold through the Scarborough Housing Alliance.


Once the first house is finished, the keys will be given to Sharmarke Hussein and Hoodo Yussuf, both originally from Somalia, who will live there with their four children. Calls and emails to Habitat officials seeking further details weren’t returned Wednesday night.

The project is part of an effort by Habitat for Humanity to connect people of different faiths within communities. The Hussein family is Muslim.

“The Pope Francis House symbolizes building a bridge between different religions; we’re all working together for one goal,” Sharmarke Hussein said in a statement.

The local Habitat chapter has appealed to schools and other organizations, as well as the local Catholic community, to help with additional fundraising and volunteer efforts.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland has built 75 homes in southern Maine since 1985.

More information about Pope Francis House is online at

Correction: This story was updated at 10:53 a.m., Sept. 24, 2015, to reflect that eight of the 13 homes planned for the Broadturn Road community will be sold at an appraised price to approved families. An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information.

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