It is a raffle billed as a way to help the state's homeless and at the same time win a free house in Seven Oaks.
Organizers say the sale of tickets could raise at least $250,000 by giving away a $200,000single-family home to some lucky person.
In addition, organizers tout the raffle as a good way to attract local and national celebrities to the county and help fill the depleted coffers of an organization that works to take people living on thestreet and give them a place to call home.
"It is fitting to raffle off a house to raise money for someone who is homeless," said Cathy Lyness, coordinator for Action for the Homeless. "It is a wonderfultie-in."
The raffle won't be until October -- until then, the organizers plan a barrage of activity at the three-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath house under construction in the 1900 block of Brigade Way, nestled toward the back of Seven Oaks, the 4,700 home-development being built at the corner of Route 175 and 32.
In the eight weeks leading up tothe drawing, eight "celebrity weekends" and theme days are planned, aimed at getting people out to the development to look at the home and perhaps spend $10 for a ticket. The home will open for tours July 12.
One such skit will be performed by Lou Grasmick, chief executiveofficer of Grasmick Lumber Co. of Baltimore and his wife Nancy, who will put on a patriotic performance for the troops at neighboring Fort Meade in remembrance for Desert Storm.
The idea for the raffle came from Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Grasmick, who serves as chairman of the fund-raising committee.
The Ryland Group, one of the area's largest home builders, donated the home.
The Halle companies, which is building Seven Oaks, donated the land and many other companies chipped in for such things as landscaping and interior decorations and furniture.
The money raised will go to Action for the Homeless, which was created in 1987 to provide a focal point for community efforts to help the homeless. The organization works to eliminate the causes of homelessness, providing money to needed emergency services throughout the state.
Lyness said the money raised through the raffle will be spread among many programs, such as providing emergency shelter, public education and food banks. Officials said a large chunk of the money will go to Sarah's House, an emergency homeless shelter at Fort Meade.
Lyness also said that many people have told herthat if they win the house, they will donate it right back to Actionfor the Homeless, which would mean the house would be resold to raise even more money.
"But we're not even thinking that way," Lyness said. "We hope to have someone win it. This is something very innovative. For $10 you can help a good cause."
Grasmick, the chairman ofthe raffle committee, said he was ecstatic to see so many businessescome together to donate items for the home. "Ryland absolutely gave us this house," he said, "no strings attached."
James McEneaney, president of Ryland Building Co., said this is the first time the builder has actually donated a house for a charitable cause. "We have done things like this," he said, "but this is the first time we're involved to the extent we are."
Betsy Russell, director of land acquisition for Halle, said 15,000 tickets already have been sold. She also said that the furniture in the home will be sold when the house is raffled off, with the proceeds going to Action for the Homeless.
Tickets can be purchased by calling Action for the Homeless at 467-3800 or by stopping by O'Conor, Piper and Flynn, a real estate chain located throughout the state.