By Jennifer L. Warren
NEWBURGH – There will be several reasons for celebration in the City of Newburgh in just under two months.
Between now and October 5 much work remains, as Habitat Newburgh, along with its many partnerships and soon-to-be, home owners, are diligently transforming a neighborhood. Here, on William Street, in the City of Newburgh, the gut-rehabilitation renovation of brick row houses is in full effect. Once vacant boarded-up structures, these units are being lifted to a whole new level: single family beautiful homes.
The landmark number 100 home, along with its predecessors: numbers 98 and 99, at the traditional “Key Passing” event. In addition to the house trio dedication, the October 5 celebration will be honoring the 20th Anniversary of Habitat Newburgh, one officially marked on October 1. Following the formal house dedications, there will be a follow-up celebration at the nearby Armory Unity Center from 2-5 pm. The pomp and circumstance is all well-deserved, as the journey of changing this block with new homes has been long and fulfilling.
“I remember when we were first starting this project people initially asked me why we are going to be building there (on Williams Street) recalled Matt Arbolino, Executive Director of Habitat Newburgh. “Then, all of a sudden, one day, after we started, a resident on the street said, ‘We are so happy you are building here.’”
Another story was related about the beginning stages of the Williams Street renovation. About a year and a half ago, a child on a school bus, while seeing some Habitat workers doing some beginning stage construction, asked if they were going to be fixing up houses there. When those workers responded with a “yes,” a large number of the children on the bus cheered.
It’s that type of positive electricity that the Habitat for Newburgh organization has been producing for the last two decades in the City of Newburgh. Having homeowners work on their own places (sweat equity), the organization offers a “hand-up,” rather than a “hand-out.” In the process they change individual lives, their families, and entire communities…not just from an aesthetic perspective, but many others.
The volunteers and workers themselves benefit, as the experience of working on a Habitat Home is priceless.
“I have enjoyed working with the partner families and learning about who they are, seeing they are just regular people wanting to own a home,” said Henry Bosworth, a construction crew leader for AmeriCorps, an umbrella organization funded by the government to bring workers to non-for profits. “This seven house project is pretty incredible; everyone is going to have the support of all of the other families, really transforming the entire street and bringing change to the area, everything.”
It’s just that exact potent impact that has been at the cornerstone of Habitat Newburgh for the past 20 years. October 5, 2019, and the dedication of its 100th home, will be a cause for unbridled joy for many in Newburgh and beyond.
“There is no coincidence that we have been as successful as we have been for the last 20 years,” said Arbolino. “There is also no coincidence that our manner of building in linking homeowners and local residents will continue to be successful.”
To learn more details about the historic October event log on to: habitatnewburgh.org