Monday, August 21, 2017

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Habitat Newburgh, local faith coalitions dedicate homes

New Habitat homes celebrated

NEWBURGH – Three families were given the dream of owning their own homes Saturday on Ann Street in Newburgh.

This dream was made possible by Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh and local faith coalitions that have been longtime partners with the organization. Methodists & Friends Build, EpiscoBuild and PresbyBuild each sponsored their own home, while the Unity House was supported by a number of different faith groups. Each home was revealed to the public during a special Dedication of Faith Builds ceremony.

The homes are each in different stages of completion, but keys were given to families who will reside in the Methodists & Friends Build, EpiscoBuild and Unity House homes. PresbyBuild is currently looking for a resident family to call their house home.

Rev. Deke Spierling, the first vice president of Habitat Newburgh’s Board of Directors and chair of its Faith Relations Committee, noted this was the second faith-build conducted by Habitat.

“Part of the excitement is that in Habitat, we have such strong faith group support, although we welcome all sorts of people of faith and non-faith, although we welcome all sorts of people of faith and of non-faith, but the faith communities are very critical to what we have done,” Sperling said.

When these homes have been completed, Newburgh Habitat will have completed 89 homes in the city since the group’s inception in 1999.

Manuel Zapata and his daughter, Tatiana, are moving in to the home sponsored by Methodists & Friends Build, and could not be more excited for the opportunity to have their own home.

“I am very happy and very emotional,” said Zapata. “It’s not easy for people like me, but [Habitat] makes it real for us.”   “This is amazing,” added his daughter. “It’s a brand-new house.”

The Unite the Right rally attacks in Charlottesville were referenced by Rev. Spierling and Habitat Newburgh Executive Director Cathy Collins during the ceremony.

“It is vital for us to remember that what we do together is not only about homes, it is as importantly about community and hope,” said Spierling, before mentioning part of a statement from Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford on the attacks.   

“Now that we’re in this moment, I am grateful to God that this timing was perfect and divinely inspired because of what happened a week ago,” added Collins. “Us gathering and doing what we do at Habitat is exactly the antidote against that kind of hate.”

The three families who received keys to their own home are among many who have applied to have a home of their own through Habitat Newburgh’s homeownership program.

Potential homeowners must take part in the construction of the home as well in what Habitat for Humanity calls “sweat equity,” and also take classes in homeownership or perform volunteer work in the Newburgh ReStore, a home improvement shop funded by Habitat Newburgh.

 


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