Reflecting on a Year Full of Memories for Local Families
As 2022 draws to a close, it’s heartwarming to reflect on the impact Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg made over the last year for families in our community.
Numbers show eight families purchasing and moving into Habitat homes in 2022. Four houses broke ground in Charles City with two more under construction in Newport News.
The faces and families behind those numbers speak the loudest to the Habitat team. Jeffrey and Tonya, parents to five children, applied to the Habitat Homebuyer Program at the start of the pandemic. They weathered three difficult years when Tonya lost her mother and Jeffrey, his best friend. Yet they persevered, working on their credit and putting in their 300 hours of sweat equity volunteer hours, all culminating in the family buying their first home in Hampton, moving in on Oct. 1.
There’s Alexis, a single mother of four, so grateful to finally be able to host Sunday dinners in a house she purchased from Habitat. She moved into a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house on June 25 “I’m so blessed to be in a home of my own,” she said at the time.
Mickeia returned to her old Newport News neighborhood as a homeowner, the first in her generation to achieve that status. During her home dedication ceremony, she noted, “we want to enjoy making memories in our new home. Having something that belongs to me and mine where I can have the say about what’s going on in my house and around my house — that matters most.”
These families celebrated their first Thanksgiving in their new homes and of course, Christmas 2022 will be unlike any other for all of them.
“Those are the milestones that I feel very privileged to witness,” said Janet V. Green, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg. “Instead of looking at how many people, how many volunteers, how many items are sold at the ReStore, seeing the individual families gives me the real comfort. Knowing that we are focused on our mission of building and selling homes to these families with low to moderate incomes so that they can continue to enjoy their life is what we are about.”
Like many, Green recalls vivid memories of her own family gatherings centered on holidays or inviting friends over to her house after school.
“That’s what Habitat has created for these families,” she said. “They’re starting to make these memories. That’s just priceless.”
Providing opportunity so more families can experience home ownership, stability and togetherness drives Green to do more in 2023. The need for local affordable housing is growing. Last spring the affiliate received a record 250 applications to its Homebuyer Program.
To meet that need, Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg will continue to explore new ways to build homes more quickly and economically without sacrificing safety or quality. The homes under construction in Newport News used 3D printing for the walls. Nearly a year ago, the local Habitat completed the first-ever 3D printed home in the nation in Williamsburg. The four homes in Charles City are being built using Insulating Concrete Forms, which leads to significant savings in energy use for the homeowner.
Green is grateful for the support of community partners, businesses and individuals who have made 2022 a special year for so many. Helping more families as we move to 2023 means asking for more.
“Between now and the end of the year is such a great time to give to charity,” Green said. “Every dollar helps. Literally $1 makes a difference at Habitat.”
There are multiple ways to support the work of Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg. Donate to the Habitat ReStores in Newport News and Williamsburg; pickup is FREE. Shop there; all proceeds benefit the Habitat mission. Round up at the register. Any monetary donation is appreciated, and you can donate your vehicle.
More volunteers are always needed at construction sites, at both ReStores and at repair blitzes that will be scheduled in 2023.
Green asks that you mark your calendars, too. Habitat’s Raise the Roof fundraiser is March 4, and its Run the D.O.G. 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run is April 15.
Your gift matters. It gives another gift most of us take for granted every day. A place to call home.