WORCESTER, Mass. - Local leaders gathered with Habitat for Humanity MetroWest/Greater Worcester Friday to break ground on two new affordable single-family homes in Worcester's Grafton Hill neighborhood.

What You Need To Know

  • Habitat for Humanity and local leaders broke ground on two new affordable homes Friday

  • They are located on Sunderland Road in Worcester's Grafton Hill neighborhood

  • The organization said it's a big step because the neighborhood has a low percentage of affordable housing
  • Construction on the homes will begin this fall

The single-family colonial style homes will be located on two vacant 7,000 square foot lots on Sunderland Road. Construction is expected to begin this fall, and while these two homes are a fraction of the overall push to build more affordable housing in the region, executive director Debbie Maruca Hoak said the location marks a big step for Habitat for Humanity.

“The area of Worcester where these two homes are being built has a really low percentage of affordable housing in it,” Maruca Hoak said. “Much of the affordable housing in Worcester is clustered in a couple of neighborhoods, and this helps to weave the fabric of affordable housing into the whole city.”

The two homes will also be convenient for the families who live there, as they’re close to shopping, schools, parks and other destinations.

City Manager Eric Batista believes affordable single family homes are important, because they allow people to become homeowners who may have never had the opportunity, and they’re often overlooked in the broader discussion on the housing crisis.

“You want families to have the opportunity to build wealth and have a home to call their own, and so we’re excited about these projects,” Batista said. “Just a few months back, I heard a story that only 37 single-family homes were being sold in Worcester, which means we don’t have a lot of supply.”

The homes will be built in partnership with the City of Worcester’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Rep. James McGovern was at the ceremonial groundbreaking, and said it’s hopefully just the beginning.

“We need to have a more dedicated funding source at the federal level and the state level to make sure everybody has the opportunity to live where they want to live,” McGovern said.

Few can speak to the importance of owning an affordable home more than those who are handed the keys. Rebecca Freeney will soon move into a recently completed affordable home in Holliston with her two daughters.

“Habitat for Humanity has afforded me the opportunity to stay in my town, build a home and continue to raise my children there and give them more stability and hope,” Freeney said.

Habitat for Humanity MetroWest/Greater Worcester is aiming to build 30 homes in our region over the next three years.

Other attendees of Friday’s ceremony included Mayor Joseph Petty, city councilor George Russell, and Habitat for Humanity’s board president Joseph Frank.