By Jennifer L. Warren
NEWBURGH – Next year will mark a tremendous milestone for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh: Its 25th Anniversary in existence; last Thursday celebrated yet another impressive achievement: The dedication of their 105th home.
The Unity Build, blue and white hued, two story, four bedroom residence, located on 139 Johnson Street in the City of Newburgh officially became the new home of Rogelio M. Giron and Blanca Luna Thursday afternoon, as they proudly participated in the traditional Passing of the Keys and Bible Presentation as well as other, warm welcome gestures in front of a large, energized crowd. It was a scene that elicited a wide smile on the face of Jill Marie, Executive Director of the not-for-profit, centered upon providing affordable housing through owner sweat equity hours as well as a “hands-up” assist with a multitude of pieces involved in the often daunting home ownership journey.
“I’m beyond excited to be here; on the way here today I was thinking this is our 105th home on the date of October 5 (10-05), Jill Marie addressed guests outside of the Johnson Street home on a sunny, crystal blue-skied fall day. “This family started their journey back in 2021 during COVID, and they stuck to taking all of the needed classes on-line; I’m just really excited for them.”
That jubilation extends to the couple’s three sons: Emanuel, Rogelio Jr. and Kenneth, the trio immediately making plans on who gets which bedroom on the second floor. The prospect of having their own room is just one of many novelties filling the boys with excitement.
“I’m mostly looking forward to the whole new environment, meeting new people and the connections we will all make,” said the eldest, 17 year old Emanuel. “It’s a place I can start brand new with and build on.”
It’s that upward movement, filled with dream possibilities and a better future, which lie at the very epicenter of Habitat for Humanity’s vision-mission. Home ownership transcends simply a place to live.
“Home ownership provides a foundation for a family to thrive and fulfill their dreams,” explained City of Newburgh Mayor, Torrance Harvey. “It’s a true investment in the future, making more money and a better overall life.”
The appreciation for all of those rewards and so much more could be seen on each of the five family member’s faces. Blanca emotionally thanked God as well as the volunteers. Each one of her three sons spoke in front of the crowd as well, expressing their deep gratitude to Habitat of Greater Newburgh as well as special opportunity to be a part of such a life transformative process.
It’s a family that was referred to by Family Advocate Volunteer, Pilar Treu, as “a true honor to work with,” after speaking of the best part of her advocacy work lying in the incredible days-like today’s when the keys are handed over to the hard-working, well deserved participants in- residents of-the home. That impact tends to evolve into a beautiful, rippling one whose rewards are priceless.
“There is nothing better for a family and neighborhood than home ownership,” said Assemblyman, Jonathan Jacobson. “If they take care of that home, it makes the entire neighborhood better.”