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Families look forward to building lives in new homes

August 21, 2018 GMT

The joys of home ownership were celebrated Sunday afternoon in Norfolk.

The Norfolk Area Habitat for Humanity, a faith-based non-denominational Christian organization, dedicated the 28th and 29th houses that have been built since the local chapter began in 1995.

Donna Rector, who serves as the group’s volunteer executive director, expressed thanks to board members, city officials, Northeast Community College students and instructors, builders and many businesses, among others.

Among the roughly 40 people who attended were Mayor Josh Moenning and Norfolk City Council members Gary Jackson and Jarad Dahlkoetter.

Moenning said Habitat’s work requires a lot of dedication and volunteer efforts. He said the setting of Sunday’s dedication — at First United Methodist Church — was appropriate.

“You’re not only acting out the gospel of Christ, which is to love your neighbor, but you are helping to build a better community,” Moenning said. “Thanks for doing it.”

One of the houses went to Hailey Christiansen and her son, who recently moved in.

“This is one of the best things that has ever happened to me,” she said. “It’s been a beautiful home and we couldn’t be more thankful.”

The other home went to Rebecca Tangeman and her three children.

Tangeman said she wanted to give thanks to everyone involved in the building of her house.

“There were a lot of different pieces and moving parts to make this happen,” she said.

Habitat builds houses using volunteer labor and donated funds and materials. It then sells the houses without profit or interest to local low-income families who would otherwise be unable to own a home.

Homeowner families must contribute 350 hours of “sweat equity,” with 250 hours completed before they take ownership. They also must make a 2 percent down payment, attend homeowner meetings and make monthly payments until the home is paid for

Also attending the dedication were the Rev. Scott Schilmoeller, associate pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, and the Rev. Raponzil Drake, pastor of the First United Methodist Church.

Schilmoeller said projects like this that involve the community coming together are amazing.

“Especially when we’re doing exactly what Jesus said, ‘Whenever you do this to the least of my brothers that you do unto me,’ ” Schilmoeller said.

Drake congratulated the families on their new homes.

“May your days there be filled with joy and warmth,” she said.

The houses are at 1105 Blaine St. and 310 N. 10th St.

Cookies and refreshments were served after the event.