PITTSFIELD, Mass. - Berkshire Bank Foundation announced that it has awarded Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity a $3,000 grant to support their Jennifer Lane Housing project in Manchester. Bennington Area Habitat plans to use the grant's funds to purchase building supplies for each of two homes Habitat is building in the summer and fall of 2013.

Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity brings together people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build, renovate, or preserve homes in partnership with families in need.

Habitat not only builds homes, but communities and hope, by partnering with others to accelerate and broaden access to affordable housing as a foundation for breaking the cycle of poverty. Consistent with the goals of Habitat for Humanity, the Bennington Area affiliate seeks to address the issues of low-income housing by pursuing new construction and rehabilitation of homes to be occupied by families seeking to improve the quality of their lives through safe, sufficient, and affordable home ownership. The Bennington Area affiliate serves all of Bennington County.

Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity's Jennifer Lane Housing project began in 2011 with plans to build as many as 22 single-family homes on the property.

Since the groundbreaking considerable infrastructure work has been completed including a community septic system for 22 homes, strategic tree planting for privacy, clearing of land, and a 450 foot extension of the existing road.


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Habitat estimates that it will cost approximately $130,000 to construct each home which range in size between 1050 and 1250 square feet of living space depending upon the number of people living in the home. Habitat builds homes that use the most environmentally responsible materials while making the homes easy for volunteers to build, simple for first time homeowners to maintain, and affordable for the long-term.

Peter J. Lafayette, Executive Director of Berkshire Bank Foundation said, "Berkshire Bank is pleased to once again provide this grant to support the work of Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity as they help make the dream of homeownership a reality for dozens of deserving families. Our Berkshire Bank employees are extensively involved with Habitat's work through the bank's employee volunteer program and plan to continue their involvement in 2013. At Berkshire Bank, we believe life is exciting, and helping people achieve the dream of homeownership by supporting Habitat for Humanity is one way we can help people realize that exciting goal."

In addition to financial support, Berkshire Bank administers a large Employee Volunteer Program that carries out community service projects benefiting schools, nonprofit organizations and communities within the bank's service area. In 2012, Berkshire Bank employees completed 95 volunteer projects in which over 50 percent of the bank's employees participated in donating over 37,000 hours of service through both company-sponsored and individual volunteer efforts to help their local communities.