David S. and Erandi B. and three of their small children attended the celebration and received various gifts from the community, including an engraved family Bible, a welcome mat, several bags of groceries, a gift certificate to COHFH’s ReStores and gift cards.
COHFH Family Services Administrator Rebecca Kendall also presented the young couple with an original painting donated by a local artist. After a blessing led by local clergy, Ann Felton Gilliland, chair/CEO of Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity, handed the couple the keys to their four-bedroom, one-car garage home.
“We are thrilled to welcome this family into their new home today,” Felton Gilliland said. “They have worked hard to make their dream of homeownership come true. We are grateful to our donors, volunteers and community partners who support our mission of building homes, communities and hope.”
David S. thanked the attendees and COHFH for the opportunity to partner with Habitat and for their warm welcome.
“It is an honor and thank you to everyone who helped us with our permanent home,” David S. said.
The young father said he and his family had been living in a 700-square-foot two-bedroom rental property and due to the size of their growing family, the young couple had been sleeping in the house’s utility closet.
“Three of the kids shared one bedroom and the twins shared one,” David S. said. “Our new house is double the size, for sure, and it has all the rooms we need. It is a beautiful home and has a lot of meaning to it.
“I’m excited our kids will grow up in an actual forever home. It (COHFH’s New Construction Program) is a life-changing experience in many ways.”
As part of their partnership with COHFH, the couple invested 100 hours of “sweat equity” by working alongside volunteers on their own home and other Habitat projects. They also attended homeowner education classes to learn about budgeting, maintenance and other aspects of being responsible homeowners.
David S. said he encourages other families willing to partner with COHFH to apply. Additional qualifications include having a full-time job of more than one year, the family’s need for a home, a credit score above 600 and they must qualify and make regular payments on an affordable mortgage.
“We started to look at houses, but we never had much hope because we couldn’t pay above market prices,” David S. said. “I planned this for a while and when we got accepted, we were blown away and everything worked out.”
Felton Gilliland congratulated the family on their achievement and thanked everyone who made it possible. She said COHFH homes are attractive, well-built and extremely energy efficient.
“Our new home prices average about $140,000, plus the cost of land,” Felton Gilliland said. “New homeowners don’t have to pay a downpayment or closing costs. I encouraged limited-income families who qualify to review our application online and consider applying.”
Visit these webpages to apply for COHFH homeownership program or to learn about the nonprofit’s Critical Home Repair Program or call (405) 232-4828.