Bay Area-Houston Habitat for Humanity officially began construction Friday on its first-ever home on Galveston Island, at 2910 Ave. N.

The affiliate works around southeast Harris County, Galveston County and east Brazoria County, but has wanted to break ground on the island for years, Executive Director Marco Maina said.

Hurricane Ike’s devastation in 2008 heightened the organization’s desire to come to the island, especially as officials there saw a greater need for affordable housing, Maina said.

“This will be the first habitat house on the island,” Maina said. “Hopefully, this will be the first of many.”

Habitat for Humanity, a tax exempt nonprofit, helps build or renovate homes for people in need. The family that will live at 2910 Ave. N hasn’t officially been approved, but once they are, they’ll help build their home alongside volunteers, Maina said.

The family will be chosen based on need, the ability to pay rent and a willingness to give time to build their new home and others in the area, said Barbara McClish, who serves on the group’s family selection committee.

Moody Memorial Methodist Church, the Harris & Eliza Kempner Fund and the Medallion Foundation donated about $115,000 for the home, Bay Area-Houston Habitat for Humanity Board President Angela Olstad said.

The Galveston Housing Finance Corp. bought the land, which had been foreclosed on, and gave it to Habitat for Humanity at a low cost, Maina said.

Patricia Bolton-Legg, president of the Galveston Houston Finance Corp., said the land wasn’t worth much to the group at the time and wanted it to go to a good cause.

“We thought this would be a really good partnership to get our organization more involved and make the community more aware of what we do,” Bolton-Legg said.

The idea to come to Galveston really took off three years ago, Olstad said.

“It’s been a challenge,” Olstad said. “Sometimes you have to rely on faith and an OCD project manager.”

Samantha Ketterer: 409-683-5241; or on Twitter at @sam_kett


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