The Harmon family was welcomed to Cape Porpoise and Kennebunkport with the dedication of their new home last week. The family – from the left, Gaberiel, his parents Alicia and Derek and brother Grayson in his mother’s arms – was chosen by Habitat for Humanity York County for the build. The family expects to be able to move in soon, once all of the finishing touches are complete. Tammy Wells photo

KENNEBUNKPORT – In the last 10 years, Derek and Alicia Harmon have moved about every two years.

There will be one more move, but this time, it is for the long haul.

Derek and Alicia, along with their boys, Gaberiel, 11, and Grayson, 4, will be moving to a brand new home – their own home – within the next few weeks.

Built by volunteers and through their own “sweat equity,” the new, two-story three-bedroom, 1,300-square-foot home is on land donated to Habitat for Humanity York County in Cape Porpoise.

“We’re very thankful to be landing here,” said Derek Harmon from the front yard of the family’s new home Aug. 9.

Habitat for Humanity York County chose the Harmon family for one of their two building projects in Cape Porpoise. Here Grayson, Alicia, Gaberiel and Derek check out one one of the rooms in their new home. Families apply to HHYC to be considered for properties, and must contribute “sweat equity,” complete a homebuyer education course and show they can pay a mortgage. Tammy Wells Photo

“We’re very excited,” said Alicia.


The boys smiled.

Then the community came together to welcome the new family and dedicate the home.

It was a rainy afternoon, but the mood was sunny and bright.

The house, a New Englander style, sports an open concept first-floor living room and kitchen. There is a first-floor bedroom, hall bathroom and laundry. There are two bedrooms for the boys on the second floor – and each has taken their pick – plus a bathroom and closets.

It is light, bright, and airy.

It exists where it is because local resident David Doubleday decided to give the two acres he owned on Mill Road to Habitat for Humanity York County.


Doubleday worked on Habitat builds in times past, he said. These days he is not able to, so he decided to contribute in another way.

He used to live across Mills Road from the lot and would notice the exodus of residents in the morning, motoring to work in Portland, Boston or elsewhere. At the same time, he noted, those who work in Kennebunkport had to drive in because they were unable to live here. Now, he said, Kennebunkport has a housing trust that works to build affordable housing, but it did not at the time when he donated the property.

Doubleday presented the keys to the Harmons.

“He wanted to see affordable homes built in Cape Porpoise,” said Amy Nucci, executive director of Habitat for Humanity York County.

Derek Harmon served three tours in the Middle East with the 82nd Airborne and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 2005. He began working as a chef in Kennebunkport a year later and did so until recently taking a job in nearby Wells. He and Alicia and the boys have never been able to afford a home in the area. They’ve lived in rental housing in several  York County towns, seeking a location that didn’t exacerbate their older son’s health issues.

Derek called being chosen by Habitat for Humanity for the Cape Porpoise build a miracle.


There were remarks by Habitat for Humanity York County board chair Doug Fraser, by selectmen’s board chair Ed Hutchins and others, and volunteer recognition by construction manager John Roberts.

Pastor Andrew Warde of Grace Point Church blessed the home.

“We’re excited they will soon make this a home and be a blessing to the community,” said Warde.

Derek Harmon expressed his family’s gratitude.

“Thank you for being mentors and friends in this process,” he said. “We are forever grateful for all the support.” Harmon read a passage from the Bible, which speaks of giving thanks to God.

Pastor Joe Everett of Village Baptist Church, also Habitat for Humanity York County’s family advocate presented the family with a Bible.


The Harmon home and another under construction on the property cost about $620,000 together, said Nucci.

“Our goal for each build is to fundraise at least 50 percent of the cost through cash donations, grants and in-kind gifts,” said Nucci in an email. “The remaining 50 percent comes from our mortgage proceeds. We have about $65,000 left to raise to meet our fundraising goal of 50 percent of the total cost for these two builds.”

Each Habitat for Humanity York County family must be willing to perform 400 hours of sweat equity, complete a homebuyer education course, and be able to pay a mortgage.

Nucci said mortgage principal, taxes and insurance are rolled into one payment that does not exceed 30 percent of the household income. At one time, Habitat for Humanity acted as the lender for all the homes it builds, receiving mortgage proceeds over time through monthly payments, but that has changed. the organization now works with the USDA Rural Development 502 Direct Loan program and with York County Community Action Corporation. Habitat for Humanity York County receives mortgage proceeds at closing, allowing the agency to increase building capacity.

Even as the Harmon family prepares to move into their new home, the second is being built on the lot. Habitat for Humanity estimates Brooke Shafer and her girls Amariah and Adeline will be able to move in early in 2023.

“I’m super excited,” said Brooke.

The Harmons know that feeling.

Attending the dedication was Alicia’s grandfather Gilbert Morrison, who drove down from Lewiston with his daughter, Alicia’s mother, Kelly. Morrison’s face was wreathed in a smile as he toured the new house.

“I know they’ll be happy here,” he said.

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