More than 100 community volunteers, family members and Habitat staff and board members attended the ceremony to celebrate the start of construction on the homes, which are due to be completed in March.
Cherokee Area Director Rita Arena says the end result will be worth all the effort.
“It does change the lives of these families; it is an amazing, amazing process, Arena said. “Absolutely we want to make this happen. It is a blessing for them and for us to be able to do this.”
Families participating don’t get a free ride, she said. They must go through the application process in order to be able to become a prospective family, including putting in 300 hours of sweat equity.
Families must also have a $1,250 down payment which they have a year to have.
“They are approved based on partnering,” Arena said.
They have a 30-year interest free mortgage based on the market value of the home. The payment includes their homeowners’ insurance, pest control contract and there are no closing costs, she said.
The first home announced at Saturday’s ceremony will be built in partnership with Amir and Sameya Yousuf, who have six children between the ages of 2 and 11.
The couple moved from Ethiopia almost 30 years ago to start a new life and build a family. Amir Yousuf worked hard to earn a liberal arts degree and is employed as a taxi driver.
Their home is part of the annual ecumenical build and is being sponsored by Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church, Saint Brigid Catholic Church and the Sawnee Electric Member Foundation.
Longtime Habitat volunteer Bob Lehrer received the Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Award which provided a $1,000 donation that he has dedicated to the build.
The second home will be built in partnership with Keesha Walker, mother of two children, Thomas, 13. and Dylan, five months.
Walker works full time and attends college. She has been employed by a medical insurance company for eight years.
Her home is the second of the ecumenical build which includes the participation of eleven local churches including Alpharetta First United Methodist Church, Hillside UMC and the North Georgia United Methodist Housing and Homeless Council, Mount Zion UMC, Northminster Presbyterian Church, Roswell Presbyterian Church, Roswell UMC, Saint Aidan’s Episcopal Church, Saint David’s Episcopal Church, Saint James UMC, Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, and Zion Missionary Baptist Church.
On the third home, Habitat is partnering with Jean and Paulone Dorcemon who have one young son, Syesken. The couple is originally from Haiti. Jean came to the United States in 2004 and Paulone joined him when granted permanent residency after the devastating earthquake in Haiti.
Jean has been working at Walmart for the last seven years. The home is sponsored by the Youth United Program which partners local high school and Rotary clubs to raise funds to build a home.
The following groups are sponsoring the Dorcemon home; Schoen Insulation Services, Atlanta International School, Blessed Trinity Catholic High School, Creekview High School, Etowah High School, Lambert High School, Milton High School, Mount Pisgah Christian School, Northview High School, Roswell High School, the Rotary Club of Canton and the Rotary Club of Windward.