More families in Southwest Florida are facing tough housing challenges this holiday season. Hurricane Ian’s destruction exacerbated the affordable housing crisis, leaving people desperate to find solutions. As a housing ministry, Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties is committed to building those solutions. On Tuesday, December 6th, our organization celebrated two more families who achieved their American Dream of homeownership just in time for the holidays!
When Abdelkrim and Somia arrived at their home dedication, they were greeted by a living room full of strangers but also full of love. Nearly two dozen employees from Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties’ ReStores were there, donning their bright blue shirts, ready to celebrate the family’s achievements. That’s because the ReStores sponsored Abdelkrim and Somia’s home. Every year proceeds from Habitat’s ReStore locations in Lee County go directly back into Habitat’s mission of building affordable homes. Abdelkrim and Somia’s was one of eight houses those profits will build this year.
One of the ReStore employees in attendance was Imane. A Habitat homebuyer herself in 2020, Imane now works for the same organization that once gave her the hand-up she needed to achieve homeownership. Coming full circle, she handed over the key.
“It’s a hope and dream that becomes true, and I want to share that dream with this family,” Imane said proudly. “It’s like I am getting the house, not them. [Because] I feel that emotion like I want to cry. I’m happy—you cannot help yourself!”
Plenty of tears did flow during the ceremony.
“I’m feeling so happy—great!” said Abdelkrim. “Because I never thought I could own a place like this. So today, my dream is coming true for me and for my family.”
About an hour later, the celebration continued down the road from Abdelkrim and Somia’s house. Katherine arrived at her new home to see some familiar and new faces. Upon entering, she was greeted by residents from Pelican Landing and The Colony, who sponsored her home. What made the surprise extra heartwarming—Katherine works at Pelican’s Nest, the golf club for the community.
“Today is new beginnings and just a fresh start for me and the kids,” said a beaming Katherine.
Before partnering with Habitat, both families were living in unsuitable conditions. Not able to afford something better, they turned to Habitat. Through the Affordable Homeownership Program, they put in 300 hours of sweat equity, paid $2,000 toward closing costs, and attended more than 20 hours of financial and homeownership classes. At closing, each family bought their home with a zero-percent interest loan through Habitat, and their mortgage payments were set at no more than 30 percent of their income.
As 2022 draws to a close and we reflect on the tumultuous year it has been for Southwest Florida, two families will also look forward to a better future—one where their children will grow up with the stability, safety, and space they need to grow and thrive.
Watch and read news coverage of this event:
Habitat for Humanity helps families buy affordable homes
FOX4 – Dec. 6, 2022
Tuesday was a special day for two families who received keys to their new homes.
Habitat for Humanity helps families find homes for the holidays
ABC-7 – Dec. 8, 2022
Florida’s affordable housing crisis has gotten worse since Hurricane Ian.
Homebuyers receive affordable homes just in time for holiday season
Florida Weekly – Dec. 14, 2022
Two families partnering with Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties recently became first-time homebuyers.