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Many Habitat families spending first Christmas in new homes

There is no place like home during the holidays for new Habitat for Humanity partner families

AMERICUS, Ga. (Dec. 15, 2004) — Thousands of Habitat for Humanity families around the world will spend their first Christmas in a simple, decent home of their own thanks to caring neighbors helping those in need.

To find Habitat homeowners celebrating their first Christmas in a home of their own, log on to www.habitat.org/local for your closest Habitat affiliate.

The West sisters of Dallas will move into their home, refurbished by Habitat, on Dec. 18. The four sisters are all handicapped and use wheelchairs, which made getting around their house difficult. The flooring was falling apart and the house didn’t have heat, so the sisters used a stove to keep warm. Their new Habitat home will have a new heating unit, roof, floors, walls and extra-wide bathrooms. Contact: Kristi Bare, 214.515.9916 or kbare@earthlink.net.

In Marquette, Mich., six families joined together to build six Habitat homes. The homes were completed on Dec. 3 and the new friends all moved in on the same day. Homeowners John and Angie Clement said at the dedication how grateful they were that their children will not have to move around any more. Contact: Mike Shimon, 906.228.3578 or info@mqthabitat.org.

Karla Hawkins prayed for a new home, wanting to provide her five-year-old son Kaleb with a better life. Hawkins and six other families moved into their new homes this December, built in partnership with Hamilton County, Ind., Habitat. She said she won’t miss the crowded apartment she called home for years and counts her new friendships with the Habitat families as one of her greatest blessings. Contact: Scott Bernhardt, 317.896.9423 or sbernhardt@hfhhc.org.

Finding an affordable home has always been a challenge for Raymond Allende. He and his seven-year-old daughter, Grace, and his brother have been sharing a relative’s living room. The family will spend their first Christmas in a new home built by New York City Habitat. Contact: Robbie Silverman, 718.246.5656, ext. 344 or rsilverman@habitatnyc.org.

Twin Cities Habitat in Minneapolis will complete a new home just in time for Christmas with Yimegnushai Meshesha and her children. Since moving to the United States from Ethiopia, Meshesha has lived in a small apartment that was not handicapped accessible. This made it difficult for Meshesha to get around the house. Her new Habitat home will make life easier. “We will put up a Christmas tree, exchange gifts, enjoy getting together with family and friends to celebrate the birth of Christ,” said Meshesha. Contact: Cheryl Winget, 612.331.4090, ext. 626 or Cheryl.winget@tchabitat.org.

Habitat for Humanity International, based in Americus, Ga., is an ecumenical Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. By the end of 2005, Habitat will have built its 200,000th house and more than one million people will be living in Habitat homes they helped build and are buying through no-profit, zero-interest mortgages. http://www.habitat.org