Welcome Home, Gabriel!
Habitat Chesapeake welcomes a new homeowner to Woodbourne-McCabe
“I’m looking forward to being a homeowner and being a productive member of this community!”
Gabriel, father of two and Baltimore resident of five years, can finally say that he has bought his first home this holiday season. A maintenance technician for Baltimore City and avid outdoors enthusiast, Gabriel heard it repeatedly from friends, family, and coworkers: when you move to Baltimore, get a Habitat house.
Looking up at his 3-bedroom home in Woodbourne-McCabe from the front lawn, he smiled alongside his mother, who helped him cut the ribbon on the house he will be able to call home this holiday season.
“I come from Norfolk, Virginia, and I came here with absolutely nothing,” he said to a crowd of supporters, staff, partners, and volunteers. “I have a cousin who has a Habitat house, I have a friend who has a Habitat house, and I have a coworker who has a Habitat house…so I took the signs.”
Those signs all pointed one direction: applying to the Habitat Chesapeake homebuyer program.
Gabriel spotted the homeowner application while shopping at the Habitat Chesapeake ReStore, one of six locations around Central Maryland that sells used and new furniture, appliances, and building materials. Later, he would find himself returning to the ReStores, this time to serve part of his 250 “sweat equity” hours as part of the Homebuyer Program requirements. Every Habitat Chesapeake homebuyer must complete sweat equity hours at the ReStores or on construction sites, and complete homebuyer education classes that cover topics such as financial literacy and home maintenance. This, paired with an affordable mortgage capped at no more than 30% of a homebuyer’s gross income and a 0% interest rate, offers a unique opportunity for first-time homebuyers to achieve their dream of homeownership here in Baltimore City.
Gabriel’s mother has been his cheerleader since the beginning. She helped him earn his 250 hours by working alongside volunteers and staff at the Dundalk ReStore, and as she stood in the doorway of Gabriel’s new home in Woodbourne-McCabe, she helped him cut the ribbon.
“I don’t know what to say. This journey has been great. I’ve met great people, because I believe everybody is on a spiritual journey, and their journey or experience can help me, too,” he said.
Woodbourne-McCabe is a north Baltimore neighborhood along the York Road corridor where Habitat Chesapeake has built or renovated more than twenty homes. In partnership with the Woodbourne-McCabe Neighborhood Association and the North Baltimore Presbyterians, Habitat Chesapeake is proud to continue a legacy of involvement in this neighborhood. The HabiCorps Workforce Development team also made their mark upon this home, learning skills in construction and the trades while completing renovation projects alongside Gabriel in his home.
“He embraced his home as the HabiCorps training home and spent hours far beyond what he was required to do to learn alongside them, and that’s really special and not to be taken for granted,” said Lauren Hughes, Director of Homeowner Services.
“He is just an exemplary vision of what we think of when we think of a Habitat partner. Gabriel, you deserve all the love and praise that is coming your way today!”
To symbolize the completion of his home, Habitat Homeowner Service staff presented Gabriel with a ceremonial key, holiday wreath, and Bible.
Representatives from Councilman Mark Conway’s office also welcomed Gabriel to the neighborhood, encouraging him to reach out with any needs or concerns as he prepares to begin his next chapter as a homeowner in Woodbourne-McCabe. Check out photos here!
Homes like this one are made possible thanks to the generous support of Bank of America, Baltimore Equitable Insurance, BGE, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, Prime AE, The Abell Foundation, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development, the North Baltimore Presbyterians, the CFG Bank, Wells Fargo, and Miss Electricity. Thank you!
Thank you for joining us!
Special thanks to the North Baltimore Presbyterians (pictured above), a faith coalition that has made building this home and others like it possible for many Habitat homeowners. Learn more about our faith partnerships!
About Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake
Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake (www.habitatchesapeake.org) brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Since 1982, Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake has built more than 790 homes in 19 communities, providing a brighter future for 2,750+ children and family members. Homeownership is proven to transform lives – improving health, increasing children’s chances of academic success and offering an opportunity to build wealth across generations. Likewise, homeownership enhances neighborhoods by bringing tangible investment, engaged, long-term residents, rising property values and a sense of community.