This past weekend, two new homeowners, Candace and Amber shined bright at a beautiful celebration in the quiet South Baltimore community of Mt. Winans. Surrounded by their families, new neighbors and Habitat Chesapeake staff, board and supporters, Candace, now a Mt. Winans homeowner, and Amber, a homeowner in the North Baltimore community of Woodbourne-McCabe, greeted and thanked all those in attendance as they gave heartfelt remarks about the importance of their new homes. With a bright smile Candace shared her gratitude for all of the donors that made the construction of her new townhome possible. “Although a lengthy process, it has all been worth it and I am grateful for everyone that came out today to celebrate with me!”
The road to homeownership can feel long for many Habitat families, since on average it takes 12 – 18 months to complete the program – including 250+ “sweat equity” hours and a 12-week homebuyer education class which ensures that families are fully prepared for the responsibilities of being a homeowner. It is for this reason that home dedications are so special. Nothing beats seeing a family who has worked hundreds of volunteer hours and proudly completed homebuyer education classes, cut the ribbon on the door to their new home! Or, watching old friends and new witness such a monumental day, knowing that will alter the course of the homeowners’ life and the community around them alike. Studies have shown that the benefits of homeownership are immense. For families, having a safe, stable, affordable home is proven to improve both physical and mental health, increase children’s test scores and their likelihood of graduating college, and help families build wealth across generations. For communities, long-term homeowners often improve property values, reduce crime and enhance civic pride and activism.
In addition to Candace and Amber’s remarks, Saturday’s celebration included a stirring invocation and benediction from local Mt. Winans pastors and the presentation of handmade wreaths by members of the Mt. Winans Community Association. The construction of the nine newly-built townhomes in Mt. Winans where Saturday’s celebration took place has been underway since the Fall of 2016 and has been welcomed by the neighborhood, which is set to receive infrastructure upgrades and potential new investors related to the redevelopment of nearby Port Covington. The construction site had been flooded with volunteers from Wells Fargo, Under Armour, Sherwin-Williams and many others, but now the homes – surrounded by greenspace in every direction and a school and playground in walking distance – are ready for families, with Candace leading the way! As with all Habitat Chesapeake home dedications, the ceremony closed with “This Little Light of Mine” echoing through the walls of the home and the official cutting of the ribbon on the door.
We would like to thank all those who attended Candace and Amber’s Welcome Home Celebration in addition to our generous partners. With your help two more homeowners now have a beautiful home with an even brighter future!