Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland Executive Director Godfrey Wood shares comments at the groundbreaking of the Carpenter Court project in Scarborough in 2015. Wood is stepping down from the position at the end of the month. Courtesy / Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland

PORTLAND —  When Godfrey Wood was searching for a new challenge after 15 years of leading the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce, he was drawn to the opportunity to join Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland.

“I thought that’s the job I would love to have as my last career,” said Wood, who is stepping down from the role at the end of the month.

After being at the helm for close to eight years, Wood, a Falmouth resident, said it is the right time to move on.

“The organization is in a good place, and it is time for someone else to take it to the next step,” he said.

Outgoing Executive Director Godfrey Wood cites the 13-home Carpenter Court in Scarborough as one of the highlights of his tenure with Habitat for Humanity. File photo

Wood will act as a consultant to help the organization through the transition to the next executive director and to assist with projects already underway, including building two homes in Freeport and eight in South Portland over the next few years.

Under Wood’s leadership Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland built more than 20 homes in the area, started a Critical Home Repair Program and opened a larger ReStore on Warren Avenue.

Wood is particularly proud of a recent project the organization partnered on with the town of Scarborough. The Carpenter Court mixed-income neighborhood off Broadturn Road, completed last year, slightly shifted the organization’s way of house building. The project, which broke ground in 2015, required Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland not only to oversee the construction of the neighborhood’s 13 homes, but its roadways, sidewalks and utility infrastructure as well.

Eight of the homes were built under Habitat for Humanity’s model of affordable housing, in which the future homeowner has to contribute at least 275 hours of “sweat equity” by volunteering at Habitat for Humanity projects. The remaining five were sold through the Scarborough Housing Alliance.

“Scarborough was a benchmark project for us,” he said, adding that model may be replicated in other communities in the future.

Carpenter Court is Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland’s largest project to date. Scarborough Town Manager Tom Hall said the town had long seen that parcel of town-owned land was prime for an affordable housing project and was glad to be able to partner with Wood and Habitat for Humanity to make that happen.

“I am pleased how everything has settled in. With all the homes now occupied, it is a wonderful site,” said Hall, who lives a stone’s throw from the development.

Wood said he is interested in a new challenge, but he doesn’t know what that is yet. In the meantime, he will look back fondly on the time he spent with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland.

“The biggest reward is handing the keys to a family for a house they never thought they would be able to afford,” he said.

Work is now underway to find Wood’s successor. In the meantime, an interim executive director will be named, said Board of Trustees President Julie Ray.

“He’s done a lot of great things and has tremendous community connections, which have really helped to support the organizations getting sponsors and donors,” Ray said. “He has really helped to move us forward.”

Since 1985, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland has built close to 100 homes in Cumberland, Falmouth, Freeport, Gorham, Naples, North Yarmouth, Portland, Pownal, Scarborough, South Portland, Standish, Westbrook, Windham and Yarmouth.

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