Habitat for Humanity of Orange County welcomed three families to their new homes in Fullerton at a dedication ceremony on December 7 on Valencia Ave.
Habitat for Humanity of Orange County is a nonprofit organization that seeks to eliminate substandard housing through advocacy, education and partnership with families and individuals in need to build decent, sustainable, and affordable housing.
The Flores, Romero, and Nurhusen families were given the keys and mortgages to their new homes, which they helped build, with the support of volunteers and donors.
“We call it sweat equity,” explained Chris Baiocchi from Habitat for Humanity. “Our families not only are buying the houses, but each family gives us about 500 hours of work…When it’s done, not only is it a home they have bought, it’s a home they know literally inside and out.”
The Flores family have been living in a small apartment in Anaheim for the last 9 years. The apartment complex was recently sold and the family has been living with the fear that they might have to find a new place to rent. In addition to being worried about not having a place to live, they have been working to send daughters Maria and Aurelie to college, while helping to financially support grandmother Maria.
“The home will help to improve our financial stability because the money we save will be an investment in our future,” Maria Flores said.
The Nurhusen family has been living in a 2-bedroom apartment in Stanton for the last 10 years. About four years ago, the mother’s husband passed away, and the burden of supporting the family fell on her shoulders. She’s been juggling two nursing assistant jobs on top of taking care of her family when the family’s income drastically changed. The good news is her children are going to college. The bad news is the cost of tuition is high.
Omar Nurhusen, who has started attending college said, “I know after this experience, I’m definitely going to start going to more volunteering events.”
The Romero family are currently living in a one-bedroom apartment in Santa Ana. During the 14 years that the Romero family has been renting the apartment, they have witnessed their home slowly falling apart. Not only has it been falling apart, but the neighborhood is not the safest, and the Romeros are always on the alert.
“Owning a house would really strengthen our bond as a family and provide stability that will last for a lifetime of memories,” Avelino Flores said.
“Every parent’s dream is to have a home where they can raise their children and today, thanks to all you guys, you made the Romero family’s dream come true,” Jasime Romero said.
“Now, more than ever, Orange County needs affordable housing. Every day, hardworking families are priced out of housing and forced to remain in unsafe, overcrowded, or unhealthy homes and apartments,” said Baiocchi during the dedication ceremony. “And every day I am proud to work alongside donors, volunteers, and team members who believe there is a way to help.”
Sharon Ellis, president/CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Orange County said that these new homes brings their total to 223 affordable homes in the county, which have been built over the past 30 years.
“Together we give families the chance to build the stability they need so they can transform their lives, and also change the future of their children,” Ellis said.
John Boyle, president of Automobile Club of Southern California donated a car to each family as well.
New homes will be built across the alley from these homes starting in January.
For more information visit www.habitatoc.org.
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