A block party on Saturday, June 9 (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) is more than just a chance for the Adams Park neighborhood and the public to enjoy lunch and activities; it’s also a celebration of ten new homes near 33rd and Pinkney Streets. As a supporter of Habitat for Humanity, Pella worked to provide quality installation and products for each homes’ windows and doors. Over a period of just five days this week, nine of the homes went from foundation to drywall as part of Habitat for Humanity of Omaha’s 11th annual Home Builders Blitz.
Eight local builders partnered with Habitat Omaha to complete the homes: Build Omaha, JE Dunn Construction, Kiewit, Kitchens Redefined, Lund-Ross Constructors, McLeay Building Company, MCL Construction, and The Weitz Company.
Habitat Omaha builds and renovates houses, which develops vacant lots and eliminates abandoned homes in blighted areas of North and South Omaha. Habitat Omaha homebuyers are required to complete up to 350 hours of sweat equity before purchasing their homes through 20- to 30-year affordable mortgages. Since 1984, Habitat Omaha has partnered with more than 1,400 families and by the end of this year the organization will build or renovate up to 50 homes, facilitate the demolition or title clearing of 30 blighted properties, and complete up to 100 critical home repairs or beautification projects.
This project marks the second of three consecutive Blitz Builds in the Adams Park Neighborhood. Fifteen additional homes will be constructed on adjacent streets later this year and next year.
The Builders Blitz homes cost about $158,000 to build and will be sold to ten local families who will become first-time homeowners; many of the families have been on the build site throughout the week and will attend the Saturday celebration. They come from a variety of backgrounds, but all are excited at the prospect of home ownership:
- Hsoe Klo, a new nursing school graduate, and Dei Toe are natives of Burma who met while attending school here in Omaha. They have been married for four years and have a three-year-old daughter and two-year-old son. “We want the stability of owning a home and not having to worry about moving from apartment to apartment,” they said. Now living in just a one-bedroom space, the family is looking forward to the expanded elbow room their new house will provide.
- Maung and Cha Loh “strongly believe Habitat is the most helpful resource for life in the U.S.” The couple fled Burma due to political conflict and experienced the hard existence of living in a refugee camp. “I am so grateful to be in the U.S. and see myself as human now,” Maung said. The family includes three young children and enjoys taking family walks, reading and visiting local museums and the zoo. They are anticipating happy times ahead in their own home.
- More than two decades ago Nyachin came to the United States as a refugee from Sudan. As a mother to six children and grandmother to one, Nyachin has spent her life working hard to provide for her children, four who are now adults and two teenage daughters who will live with her as they pursue their studies. Nyachin feels homeownership represents stability for her family.
- Nyachop was forced to leave her home country of South Sudan and it took time for Omaha to become her home. So for Nyachop, a Habitat house is not just an investment in her own future, it’s also an investment in her children’s futures. As a single mother, providing a safe and stable place for her four children (ages 16, 14, 12 and 5) to call home is paramount. The family is ready to celebrate old traditions and make new memories in their own home.
- Originally from Burma, Pah Day and Ma Paw lived in refugee camps in Thailand for 15 years before moving to Omaha in 2015 with their four children, who are all between the ages of 4 and 9. The couple greatly appreciate the educational opportunity their children will have and are excited about home ownership.
- Pah Kleet and Naw Kyeh met in a refugee camp. Omaha offered previously unattainable freedoms such as work, education, and other fulfilling activities for their family, which includes four children 13 and under. Moving into a new house from a small apartment means room for the kids to play and even the opportunity to host gatherings with friends.
- Candyce, a single mother, views homeownership as a chance to prove her independence and also set a good example for her of two young children. “I want to show my kids that they can attain any goal they decide on,” she said.
- Hellen hails from Kenya and eventually settled in Omaha through a friend-of-the-family connection. A new home means a greater sense of security for herself and her two young children. “A house is everything,” she said. “I just want my kids to be safe and happy.”
- Chol’s eight children motivated her application for Habitat Omaha’s Homeownership Program. She fled her home country of Sudan around 25 years ago and has been in Omaha since 1999. For Chol, buying a Habitat Omaha house is a good investment for her and her family.
- Dhan was born in Bhutan and Ganita is native to India, but they met as refugees in Nepal, where they were repeatedly denied reentry to their home countries. In 2015, they made their way to Omaha with their twin girls, now 7. Dhan said he wants other families to know that with proper saving and budgeting, buying a home through Habitat Omaha is affordable and attainable.