On an October day in 1995, Wendy R. Oslund told her 14-year-old son, Jason, and her 5-year-old daughter, Brittany, that they were going to go for a little ride.
Ms. Oslund drove to Deep Wood Drive in Forestdale, and stopped next to a wooded lot.
What would you think, she asked them, if we had a house right here?
Her son, she remembers, was amazed. Her daughter was happy that she would finally have her own room.
About six months later, on March 1, 1996, Ms. Oslund closed on the house.
Nineteen years later, Ms. Oslund still is living in the residence, which she now owns free and clear.
The whole process was made possible by Habitat for Humanity of Cape Cod. The organization screened 62 applicants for the Deep Wood Drive lot, which was being donated, finally chose Ms. Oslund, and provided volunteer support for the hundreds of hours of sweat equity that she put in as a required contribution to her ownership.
But Ms. Oslund’s home bears a further distinction: it is the only Habitat for Humanity house in Sandwich, the fourth most populous town on Cape Cod.
Since 1989, the organization has built 90 homes on the Cape, according to executive director Victoria Goldsmith.
When it comes to completed Habitat houses, Sandwich is at the bottom of the Cape Cod barrel.
Even Bourne, Sandwich’s separatist community, is ahead. Bourne has two Habitat houses.
And Falmouth, the second largest town on the Cape, arguably is lagging at a count of eight.
But Mashpee and Barnstable, both of which border Sandwich, are leaving the town in the dust. Mashpee has 16 Habitat houses. Barnstable has 15.
“We’ve been more successful in some towns than others,” Ms. Goldsmith said.
In those towns, she said, the organization has received more donations of land, whether from the town itself or private donors.
But Habitat is on the move again in Sandwich. The organization is looking to double its house count in the town—from one to two.
Habitat has set its eyes on a pair of neighboring town-owned lots at 14 and 16 Evsun Drive.
Together, the lots measure 1.13 acres. Sandwich Town Meeting previously set the lots aside for affordable housing, but they since have lingered in limbo.
With Habitat prompting the issue, the town has issued a request for proposals to build a single family home on the two lots, with the sale of the home to income qualified households earning 80 percent or less of the Barnstable County median income.
Proposals are due by noon Monday, August 18.
If Habitat gets the nod, and if one of its houses rises on the lots, the town can be fairly certain of one thing: the owner will feel as grateful as Wendy Oslund does every day that she drives back into the driveway of her Habitat home.