During the past 29 years, Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity has helped make homeownership possible for more than 225 families, including 800 children, in 20 neighborhoods. On March 4, Habitat volunteers, community members and new Habitat families gathered to celebrate the completion of two more homes in the Buckeye community. For volunteers, this dedication of homes is an opportunity to see the end results of their labor — completely rehabbed homes. But more importantly, it’s a chance to see families realize the dream of homeownership.
Deondre Jr. is a smiling, active 6-year-old. That day, he bounded through his new home and staked a claim for his bedroom. His parents, Deondre and Shavonne, had equally bright smiles as they let their child lead tours, select his room and talk about a future dog in the backyard. They were ecstatic. They first-time homeowners and they were now living close to their family — only minutes away from a sister, cousins, grandma and great-grandma.
“I felt at peace when I walked through the front door,” says Shavonne, adding that the volunteers brought light to her day, especially with the stress of juggling being a full-time student and mother and completing the 250 volunteer hours for her home. Shavonne and Diondre both noted that, outside of their wedding day and the birth of their son, this was one of the best days of their lives.
Another new homeowner, Chamonique, is a single mother with an adorable 1-year-old. It was important for her to own her own home and be a role model for her son. Before applying to Habitat, she did extensive research and was certain about her commitment.
The dedication of the homes is always emotional. It’s not just about walls, roofs or flooring, it’s about a legacy for the families, confidence, stability, greater opportunities and the recognition of an outpouring of love and support from strangers who came together to make purchasing a home affordable.
Cleveland Habitat's focus is that everyone deserves a safe, decent and affordable place to call home — a struggle for many Clevelanders. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, families who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing are considered cost-burdened and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care. The 2010-2013 American Community Survey found that 50.9 percent of Cleveland homeowners are paying 30 percent or more of their household income on housing.
It is because of the more than 3,000 volunteers who come to help rehab homes each year, as well as financial support from individuals, churches and businesses, that makes it possible for Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity to change people’s living situations for the better. There are so many ways to give and change lives in the community by partnering with habitat. Visit clevelandhabitat.org for more information on how to volunteer, donate or participate in an upcoming event.
And the more than 3,000 volunteers who come to help each year, as well as the financial support of individuals, churches and businesses, make this possible.