DEER PARK, Wash. - Two families have become first-time homeowners after a dedication ceremony gave them the keys to their homes.
Meer and Mahsumeh smiled with excitement as they unlocked the front doors to their new houses. (Due to privacy restrictions, Habitat for Humanity does not release the last names of its families.)
The families received their homes through Habitat for Humanity’s Blitz Build, where volunteers with the organization build as many houses as they can as quickly as they can for families in need of affordable housing.
Families then pay a mortgage of no more than 30 percent of their income.
Meer’s family came to America as refugees. When they first came to the country, they were happy just to have somewhere to sleep for the night.
After becoming involved with Habitat for Humanity, Meer and her family’s dream of owning a home became a reality.
“As much as I love to see families receiving the keys to their homes, they’re the ones that did this,” said Michelle Girardot, the organization's chief executive officer.
Every aspiring homeowner with the organization is required to contribute at least 500 hours of work to constructing their home and helping with other service projects.
“Each home has been basically, from the ground up, volunteer labor,” Girardot said.
After much hard work, the families can now step into their new homes.
“Finally, they’re at the finish line,” Girardot said. “Their dreams of having a stable home…it’s going to open up some different opportunities in their minds,” Girardot said.
She said the affordable housing allows them to put the rest of their money into other ways to better themselves. For many families, these keys open the doors to a new start in their lives.