Three people took a giant step in their lives, becoming homeowners in Middletown with the support of Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County. SEE A VIDEO AND MORE PHOTOS from the ceremony in this story.
Three people took a giant step in their lives, becoming homeowners in Middletown with the support of Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County Jan. 25.
The organization celebrated the completion of a twin home on Elizabeth Street near Louis L. Redding Middle School and the renovation of a townhouse on East Lake Street during a dedication ceremony at the Habitat for Humanity Restore at 600 N. Broad St., where the organization sells donated furniture and building materials to help raise funds.
Kevin L. Smith, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County, said the organization has built 32 homes in Middletown since its first project in the community 19 years ago.
“We seek to provide self-reliance and stability through shelter,” Smith said. “These families work hard for this opportunity to buy the home through Habitat through our zero interest mortgage.”
He said the homes will not only help the owners, but they will continue to revitalize the neighborhood and provide affordable housing.
“As Middletown grows it’s important that low-to-moderate-income families have an opportunity to become homeowners,” Smith said.
He showed his appreciation to the staff and volunteers of the organization, along with family and friends.
“Thank you for being here to support these new homeowners in this new stage in their lives and for all the ways you’ve supported them up to this point,” he said.
New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer presented the keys to new homeowner Teri Hawkes, and Rev. Bo Gordy-Stith of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Odessa gave Hawkes a Bible.
Meyer said he worked as a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity in high school and college.
“I’ve done a lot with Habitat, but I’ve never had the opportunity to hand the keys to a new homeowner,” he said. “We are all here for you to make sure this dream of a house becomes the dream you want it to be.”
Hawkes said “many amazing factors” led to her being able to move into a home of her own.
Along with the Habitat organization and volunteers, she thanked Seeds of Greatness, the Dave Ramsey financial management program and her family, friends and co-workers.
“I’m so grateful and so thankful for the community I have,” Hawkes said.
For new homeowner Cereza Hansley, Restore Director Bob Caguin presented the keys, and Georgia Anderson from Bethesda United Methodist Church in Middletown presented the Bible.
Caguin met Hansley through her job at the Delaware Division for the Visually Impaired, when she referred a potential employee to Habitat’s Restore.
Caguin said he was honored to attend the dedication ceremony, along with staff members from the Restore, “not only to see the results of what we do to help the community,” but to bring attention to what Hansley does “every single day to help people.”
Hansley said what drew her to Habitat for Humanity was the group’s mission.
“I really want to take this moment to celebrate you…every person…who gives their time, talents and abilities and faithfulness to Habitat for Humanity,” said Hansley. “For all of you who believe and execute that very same vision, a world where everyone has a decent place to live, and Habitat’s mission seeking to put God’s love into action. Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, community and hope.”
Nyell Spicer received the keys to her new home from Alex Barnett, Habitat for Humanity construction manager, while Noreen Poole from the Habitat for Humanity Board of Advisors, presented her with a Bible.
Barnett said he learned about Spicer’s dedication to Habitat when she helped build homes on one of Habitat’s “Global Village” trips to Columbia. He said the trip helped create a special bond among the volunteers.
“We are a family,” said Barnett.
Working on the homes and seeing the conditions in Columbia “made us appreciate what we have here at Habitat,” he said.
Spicer received a surprise when volunteers from Philadelphia with whom she worked in Columbia walked up to congratulate her during the ceremony.
“Just to see you all here really blows my mind,” said Spicer.
She initially got involved with Habitat as her first job after college. She was ready to accept a job with Comcast, but decided to go to the Habitat job interview anyway, and she immediately changed her mind and decided to work for Habitat.
“I want to thank God and give all the glory to him,” said Spicer. “Being a homeowner was not in my plans, but then again it just goes back to God that it wasn’t my plan, it’s his plan and me following him.”
After college she found out how expensive rent, utilities, insurance, food and other expenses are.
“I was living paycheck to paycheck, and I wonder how people with children are able to do it,” she said. “If I never went to Habitat, I wouldn’t be here.”
She said the home ownership process “has been two long years but well worth it because I had to be taught patience. I really learned through this process. I’m so driven. I just want to get things done. I want to go higher and higher, but I had to slow down. I believe the timeline it takes to get into our homes is for a reason. I had to learn patience – how to slow down and let God take the lead.”
She thanked everyone who helped on her journey including family, friends and Habitat for Humanity staff and volunteers.
After the ceremony, buses took people to tour the three new homes. Rev. Angela Springfield from Mt. Zion UAME Church blessed the home of Spicer, while Monsignor Rev. David Kelley from St. Joseph Parish blessed the homes of Hansley and Hawkes.
More about Habitat for Humanity
Since Habitat for Humanity of New Castle was started in 1986, the organization has helped 246 families become homeowners.
Habitat for Humanity was founded in Americus, Georgia in 1976 and now operates around the world. The group has helped build, renovate and repair more than 600,000 homes, sheltering more than 3 million people.
For information on becoming a homeowner, how to volunteer or how to make a donation, call (302) 652-0365 or see the website www.habitatncc.org.