Habitat Suffolk’s milestone moment is on the house

Up and coming: Habitat for Humanity volunteers raise the walls of the chapter's 197th house, this one in Central Islip.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

With projects all over the county and a bevy of happy homeowners moving into new digs, busy Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk is closing in on a major milestone.

The independent affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International plans to complete its 200th house in September, an affordable home in Wyandanch that will rise via a “special three-week blitz build,” according to the Middle Island-based nonprofit.

Habitat Suffolk Director of Development Les Scheinfeld, who has served with the regional affiliate for 15 of its 30-plus years, framed the landmark 200th construction as the latest achievement for a circa-1988 nonprofit that’s always had lots to do.

“There are so many great highlights,” Scheinfeld told Innovate LI. “But to get to a milestone like 200 is really something special.”

Habitat Suffolk is hardly coasting toward that bicentennial build. Last week, the nonprofit’s volunteer workers raised the walls of Habitat Suffolk’s 197th home in Central Islip (with a tip of its cap to Melville-based Super Enterprises USA, which donated the windows).

That followed a recent “key presentation” to a grateful family in Mastic Beach and was followed by this week’s key presentation to new homeowners in Bay Shore.

Key moment: The Hernandez family of Bay Shore moves right in.

With eager would-be homeowners undergoing mortgage processes for completed Habitat Suffolk homes in East Quogue, Sound Beach and Bay Shore, the nonprofit is set for a busy summer – and that includes completing the agenda and guest list for the big 200th raising, which will coincide with Habitat for Humanity’s 21st National Builder Blitz.

To highlight both the national build-a-thon and the historic 200th local house-raising, Habitat Suffolk has also scheduled its second-annual “CEO Build” as part of the Sept. 9 Wyandanch event.

The debut CEO Build in April 2018 featured a number of frontline corporate sponsors – Bank of America, Bethpage Federal Credit Union, PSEG-Long Island and H2M architects + engineers among them – and Scheinfeld said he expects a similar turnout for this year’s event.

“We’ve had some conversations with [last year’s corporate participants],” the development director noted. “We’re looking forward to their continued participation.”

The busy season continues momentum for the sustainability-focused nonprofit, which last year named former Town of Huntington Councilwoman Tracey Edwards executive director and maintains a number of donation and volunteer programs, including Long Island’s only ReStore facility.

Les Scheinfeld: Legacy building.

Operated throughout the country by Habitat for Humanity, ReStore facilities are retail outlets selling new and slightly used building supplies and home furnishings – all donated, with proceeds benefiting Habitat’s mission.

Habitat Suffolk’s ReStore – the network’s easternmost outlet, after a Queens-based ReStore operated by Habitat’s New York City affiliate – has been in business for almost 20 years, according to Scheinfeld, who noted the retail effort originally started as a “glorified yard sale.”

“Now it’s in a warehouse and stocked with 100-percent donated items, from great companies that donate excess building materials and supplies and homeowners who donate excess furniture,” he said. “It’s a great place to shop and a great place to donate, so things don’t just get thrown out.

“And the way it has grown shows how far we’ve come.”