EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

May 26, 2013

Former convent being turned into Habitat for Humanity condos

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Framing for seven of the 10 units has been done and some of the windows have been installed. The exterior has been painted and fire escape stairs are done. There will be acoustical separation between each unit, the floors have been insulated and 6-inch foam board insulation was placed between the exterior and interior of the building to save energy.

“This is a wonderful project especially because we’re saving an old building,” Dahmen said. “It’s an exciting combination of the old and the new.”

Habitat purchased the convent at 100 Parker St., from the Archdiocese of Boston for $300,000. The facade of the 16,469-foot red brick building with white trim, will remain and much of the wood will be reused. The inside of the 102-year-old building will be converted into one , two-bedroom apartment and nine, three-bedroom units. There will be common areas for use of all residents.

“It’s a challange to stay on schedule because we need volunteers,” director of development Sharon Mason said.

Each residence will be sold at cost to low-income families participating in Habitat for Humanity’s partner family program. Arache is getting more than a place to live for his family. His partner family is Scott and Catie Hubley along with their son, Dann. When Scott Hubley found out Arache is studying electrical engineering, he got him an intership at Sensitech in Beverly where he works.

The average home costs $115,000 to build. Habitat families purchase their homes for the out-of-pocket cost of construction with a no-interest mortgage held by Habitat. The organization finances them with a 20, 25 or 30 year mortgages at no interest. Habitat homeowners earn between 25 percent and 50 percent of the area median income - for a family of four, that means $22,000 to $44,000.

Roxanna Matos, who purchased a home through Habitat, is now Family Service Coordinator for the agency helping families go through the application process.

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