Submitted by Niagara Area Habitat for Humanity
Niagara Area Habitat for Humanity celebrated its 31st Habitat home in Niagara County with a home dedication to celebrate the newest Habitat homeowners achieving their dream of homeownership.
Jessica Billingslea-Young is the newest recipient of a new four-bedroom home on 61st Street in Niagara Falls. A single mother of three, Jessica applied for Niagara Area Habitat’s homeownership program with the goal of building a better life for her children. As part of Habitat’s homeownership process, Jessica completed hundreds of hours of “sweat equity” working alongside Habitat staff and volunteers to build her future home. In addition, Jessica also attended a variety of classes to prepare for homeownership, including a first-time homebuyer class, budgeting classes, and financial literacy courses to build her credit to qualify for a Habitat mortgage.
“I’m so excited,” Jessica said during the dedication ceremony. “My children have a place to call their own forever home, and their kids will know that we all had a part in making this our home.”
The dedication ceremony celebrated Jessica and her family, as well as the many volunteers, donors, vendors and Habitat board and staff members who came together to build the home.
“It truly takes a village” Habitat Community Outreach Director Marco Notaro said. “At Habitat, we believe our work is putting our faith into action and you truly see the collective power of our faith in action when you see how many people came together to help rehab this home.”
Thanks to a partnership with National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp., the 31st Habitat home is a net-zero home – the second such home built by Habitat in Niagara County in partnership with National Fuel. The home was built using energy-efficient construction, combined with the use of high-efficiency natural gas equipment and a solar panel system. These practices ensure a net-zero home minimizes carbon emissions while simultaneously making the home more affordable by reducing the homeowner’s monthly energy costs.
Niagara Area Habitat for Humanity works to build strength, stability, and self-reliance through homeownership. It was established in 1993 by a group of dedicated volunteers to address the lack of affordable housing in Niagara County, and has built 31 homes for families in Niagara Falls and North Tonawanda.
To create homeownership opportunities for low-income families, Niagara Area Habitat subsidizes the cost of homes through donations (both monetary and materials) and volunteer labor. Families that purchase homes through our program are required to first contribute 500 hours of “sweat equity” as their down payment, working alongside community volunteers to construct their home and the houses of other families in the program. Once approved, families purchase their homes from Niagara Area Habitat by paying an affordable, low-interest, monthly mortgage. For more information, visit www.niagarahabitat.org.
New Habitat homeowner Jessica Billingslea-Young, Habitat Board President Kaye Lodick, Executive Director Gina Beam, Community Outreach Director Marco Notaro, and board member Paulette Campbell celebrate Niagara Area Habitat for Humanity’s newest home in Niagara Falls.