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

AMERICUS, Ga. (Dec 11, 2006) — New Habitat for Humanity partner 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. These are just some of the stories of hundreds of families celebrating their holidays in their very first home.

Rana Rose and her six year old daughter, Aaliyah, fled New Orleans the day before Hurricane Katrina struck. When they were finally able to return a month later, they found that everything they owned had been destroyed. With little more that a few days’ clothing, they relocated to Hagerstown, N.J., and applied for a house with Habitat for Humanity of Washington County. With more than 500 hours of sweat equity completed, the family will move into their new house just in time for the holidays. Now settled in Hagerstown, Rose hopes to complete her degree in accounting while working at her new job with Fleetwood Trailers.

The Ansahs were living in a one-bedroom apartment in New York City and expecting their first child. Life became more complicated when they learned that they would soon be the parents of quadruplets. Unable to afford more than one bedroom, they sought assistance from Habitat for Humanity New York City. On Dec 16, the Ansahs will join four additional families in dedicating a five-story building in the South Bronx that they helped to renovate as part of their sweat equity. The Ansah’s new two-story duplex has plenty of space for their four crawling nine-month-olds. With a playground right across the street, the Ansahs have truly come home, just in time for the holidays.

Cindy Caruso of Orem, Utah, was sharing an apartment with her sister and 17-year-old son, Justus, when she was approved to become a homeowner through Habitat for Humanity of Utah County. “It feels absolutely wonderful to be a homeowner,” Caruso said. “I have loved calling to have the utilities set up and when they ask, ‘Are renting or buying?’ I have to catch myself because for the first time I can say ‘buying.’ I have dreamed of this for years. We have been living here for a week now and it feels like we are finally home.”

Many Habitat partner families felt the blessings of Angelique Overstreet when she joined the program. A house painter by trade, Overstreet fulfilled her sweat equity requirement by helping Habitat partner families in Springfield, Mo., build their homes, including teaching them how to complete a professional paint job. As Christmas nears, Overstreet and her three children will finally move into their own Habitat house. “She is such a hard worker,” said Jan Cederholm, executive director at Habitat for Humanity of Springfield. “She’s a single mom working 50-hour weeks, and she still came in regularly to work her sweat-equity hours. We will close on the house on Dec. 1.”

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in Americus, Ga., in 1976, Habitat has built more than 200,000 houses in nearly 100 countries, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org.