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Davian Higgins-Reeves may not have been in her new home for the holidays, but she’s got its keys in her hands.
She and her family will be living in a new Simonds Gardens home after receiving the keys during a home dedication ceremony by Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County.
The home, the fourth either built or renovated by Habitat in Simonds Gardens, will get Higgins-Reeves out of an apartment she shares with her sister and cousin and into housing that will allow her to save money and have something she helped build.
“This program will provide my family and I a sense of security and well-being,” she said. “I do believe that God answers prayer and I really believe, now more than ever, that if you have a goal just put in work and you will see the results.”
Higgins-Reeves, who got the keys Dec. 20 and is expected to move into the house in January, put in more than 250 hours of “sweat equity” – the term Habitat uses for the investment the owner provides before moving into a home. This can be anything from helping build the house to being engaged in their new community.
“It helps lower the cost of their home, that way it continues to make their home more affordable for them,” said Kelly Shuster, Habitat’s family services coordinator. The homeowners are also connected to their new neighborhood before they even move in.
Along with the sweat equity, families in the program attend financial coaching classes, home maintenance training and civic engagement training.
“Working with our prospective homeowners is the absolute best part of my job,” Shuster said. “It’s really special to see their transformation and how they even view their own lives.”
Shuster is particularly impressed with Higgins-Reeves, who not only works full time, but also is a full-time student while going through the Habitat program.
“It’s amazing to me just the amount that people are able to achieve and what they are able to do,” she said. “And how they can even surprise themselves.”
Higgins-Reeves will be moving into her new home with her husband and her younger sister.
“In the future, I plan to keep motivated and keep pushing myself and others to strive for the best and don’t ever give up,” she said. “I will try to help others as long as I am able.”