The Executive Director's Blog

From John Paukstis, Habitat for Humanity of Metro Maryland, Inc.

Peacemaker of the Year Awards

I had the privilege of attending the Peacemaker of the Year Awards this past Sunday.   Sister Marie Lucey, OSF and Father Jacek Orzechowski, OFM accepted the peacemaker award from Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore.  Read about Pax Christi:

Sr. Marie Lucy, OSF is Director of Advocacy and Member Relations for the Franciscan Action Network (FAN).  Her responsibilities center on peacemaking, including gun violence prevention and relationships with Muslims, and human rights, including immigration, human trafficking, and refugees.  From 2003 until 2011 she was Associate Director for Social Mission with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.  Before that she served her community, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, as Congregational Minister (President) and Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Justice & Peace Coordinator, and educator.  She has participated in delegations to Nicaragua, El Salvador, Mexico, Syria, and Lebanon.

My wife and I had the good fortune to serve with Marie on a Peace & Justice Committee in our church community when we lived in Lansdale, PA (near Philadelphia) in the late 1980’s.  Marie was the strong leader and force behind our peacemaking initiatives.


Fr. Jacek Orzechowski is a Franciscan friar of Holy Name Province, currently ministering at St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, MD, and a FAN board member.  His advocacy and witness cover a similar range of issues.  He has led eight Living Stones pilgrimages for the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation and is a tireless advocate for justice, peace and reconciliation in Palestine, as well as immigrants and the environment.  The Catholic Bishops of Mexico, in part inspired by his reminder of the example of Jesus Christ, passed a strong statement on forest policy after reading the Franciscan declaration of forest conservation that he authored.  Fr. Jacek was awarded a 2004 Steward of the Forest Award.

I’ve gotten to know Jacek through our advocacy efforts with Action in Montgomery (AIM) and the Montgomery Housing Alliance (MHA).  Our work is focused on creating and preserving affordable housing, and advocating for increased funding in the County’s Housing Initiative Fund (HIF).  Jacek is also a strong advocate for improving the housing conditions in the Northwest Park Apartments in Silver Spring.


Celebrating the sale of the 90th Habitat home

Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland celebrated the sale of their 90th home this week to a family of five.  The home was completed recently after months of renovations by staff, volunteers and “sweat equity time” performed by the new homebuyers.

The house was vacant, foreclosed and in terrible shape when it was purchased in late 2015.  It was completely rebuilt, including updated framing, insulation and drywall, as well as, new electric, plumbing, furnace, roof and windows.  All new cabinets and appliances were installed as well.

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Habitat was the beneficiary of enormous volunteer and financial support including these sponsors:

  • Bank of America
  • Bozzuto Construction
  • Chris Howell
  • Cook Ross
  • Emergent BioSolutions
  • Fannie Mae
  • Freddie Mac
  • HFHMM Crew Leaders
  • HFHMM ReStore
  • Host Hotels & Resorts
  • ICRI, Baltimore Washington Chapter
  • Leidos
  • Maryland Affordable Housing Trust
  • Millcreek Residential Trust LLC
  • Out Riders Women’s Motorcycle Club
  • RCLCO Real Estate Advisers
  • RLJ Lodging Trust
  • Steben & Company
  • Team Meg Kiernan
  • Team ONE Marriott
  • Team Rubicon
  • Team Rainbow Squad Goals
  • Wells Fargo

Samuel and Addisalem completed settlement and received the keys to their home on November 28.



Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland Hosts 8th Affordable Housing Benefit Breakfast

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On Friday, November 4, 2016 Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland (HFHMM) held its 8th Annual Affordable Housing Benefit Breakfast at the Bethesda Marriott Hotel on Pooks Hill Road.

HFHMM discussed the mounting need for additional affordable housing in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, highlighted its past work in the community, and spoke to its future focus on Veteran’s repair efforts and Aging in Place projects.

Award-winning journalist Kathleen Matthews emceed the event and guests heard a local community leader’s inspirational story and experience with HFHMM.

“Habitat is an organization that inspires action to end the cycle of poverty housing. One of our goals is to increase awareness of the need and value of affordable housing. We study and forecast the impact of our work in the communities we serve. In a recent Habitat Homeowner Study, conducted by Habitat for Humanity International, Habitat homeownership contributes to self-esteem and well-being, improved family mental and physical health, community awareness, and a feeling of neighborhood pride. Habitat homeowners pay taxes and are more likely to vote. As well, Habitat homeowners are able to save more, pursue advanced educational opportunities, and work towards achieving financial stability. By providing a stable home, Habitat homeownership is more likely to prevent the fracturing of families” said John Paukstis, HFHMM’s Executive Director.

HFHMM raised nearly $75,000 from this year’s event, which will support HFHMM’s growing Veteran’s Repair efforts and Aging in Place Pilot Program, in addition to other projects in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.

HFHMM would like to thank the sponsors of this year’s Affordable Housing Benefit Breakfast:

Host Hotels
Office of Mary Lehman
Old Line Bank
Paragon Title
Artery Capital
CAS Engineering
Deleon & Stang
Ed Hummers
Emergent BioSolutions
Fine Earth Landscape
GTM Architects
Hopkins and Porter
Lerch, Early & Brewer
Linda Paige
Marc Fleisher
Mary LoGiudice
Miller and Long
Mimi Kress
Montgomery College
Rev. Rachel Cornwell & Marcus Meeks
Riderwood / Erickson Living
Sandy Spring Bank
Sandy Spring Builders
United Bank
Victor Llewellyn Group
Whiteford, Taylor & Preston


iHeart Media Radio Interview

Perhaps you heard our radio ad to promote our ReStores on iHeart radio (97.1 the past few weeks.  As a follow up, I had the good fortune to be interviewed by Bernie Lucas, Creative Services & Public Affairs Director for iHeart Media   The interview was broadcast on Sunday, October 9th.

Visit our ReStore web site :

Listen to my interview with Bernie here


Our team has landed in Nepal!


Donna and Sarah in the Kathmandu valley

Habitat for Humanity started working in Nepal in 1997.  Habitat Nepal celebrated its 10,000th family served and by mid-2014, and since inception, more than 54,000 families have been helped with housing related solutions.

Our Habitat Global Village team arrived in Nepal on October 16 and will be building a home in an established community.

“We’re working in a community of 93 families, only 6 of the 93 homes survived the earthquakes. Habitat is rebuilding the remaining 87 homes! Forty-one are completed and we are working on two more. They will finish all 87 by May of next year and move onto the next community that needs help rebuilding. Each home is made of 8,000 bricks. I think we will touch each one of those bricks.” – Sarah Reddinger, HFHMM Director of Program Services


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