More than 50 community members, sponsors, family members, Habitat staff and board members attended the ceremony, which was the latest Habitat expansion in the community that was left languishing with the recession.
“This is the sixth phase, homes 16 through 18, that Habitat has built in the neighborhood,” said Russ Hayes, CEO of the local Habitat group. “The original developer had abandoned the subdivision, completing homes on less than one-third of the available home sites and leaving a defunct homeowners association and nearly 50 weed-strewn lots. Habitat-North Central Georgia is working to revitalize the neighborhood and provide affordable homes to deserving families in North Fulton and Cherokee County.”
In addition, Habitat has received grant funds from Cherokee County to help pay for the land acquisition costs for many of the lots that have been built on.
The first of the three latest homes was built in partnership with homeowner Dadie Laventure who has three sons; Jimmy, 14, Alex, 13, and Bryan, 12.
Laventure came to the United States from Haiti in 1996 to escape poverty and violence in her native country. She is raising her sons with the help of her mother, who came to the United States last year.
Laventure has worked for a large department store since 2005. Her home was built with the support of the Thrivent Builds program and the Lutheran coalition. The grant from the Thrivent Builds program provides 50 percent of the cost of construction, and was given to Habitat North Central Georgia by Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity, a partnership between Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Habitat for Humanity International.
The remaining 50 percent of the construction costs are contributed by the Lutheran Coalition; a group of Lutheran churches who donate both the funds and the volunteer labor.
This is the sixth Thrivent Financial and Lutheran Coalition build in northcentral Georgia.
The second home was built in partnership with the Mwangi family. Hellen and Geoffrey Mwangi have two children, Joy, 8, and Joshua, 6. Hellen immigrated to the United States in 2004 from Kenya.
It took several years for her husband and two children to obtain the approval to join her. Hellen has worked as a caregiver since 2004. Her husband works at a local clothing store.
The sponsor of their home is the UPS Foundation. UPS not only provided the funds to build the home but also all of the volunteer labor, a Habitat spokesperson said.
The UPS Foundation and its employees have been long-time supporters of Habitat North Central Georgia and are dedicated to the mission of providing affordable housing to families, a spokesperson said in a release.
Habitat partnered with Blanca Ramos on the third home. Ramos has two adult children and one young daughter, age 2. Ramos is employed at a local construction supply store. She said she feels blessed to have so many wonderful sponsors who helped to build her home including Balfour Beatty, Enercon, Generation Mortgage Company, Gresham, Smith & Partners, OCI Enterprises, Ryder, Schoen Insulation Services, Siemens, Sullivan & Schlieman Wealth Management LLC and Transamerica.
“I want to thank all of the wonderful sponsors who came out every week to help build my home. It has truly been a blessing and a dream come true to have a home of my own and for my family,” she said.
To be a part of the Habitat program, each family is required to attend 10 educational classes and perform 300 sweat equity hours. Families earn between 25 percent and 60 percent of the Atlanta area median income and purchase their homes from Habitat which provides them with a 30-year, no-interest loan.
Family members work side by side with the volunteers, sponsors and Habitat staff to build their homes. For more information on Habitat for Humanity – North Central Georgia, please visit www.habitat-ncg.org.