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Desiree Leguizamo of Newark was renting a home when her landlord told her the house was going to be sold. Leguizamo was forced to find a new living situation quickly for her and her two daughters. Habitat for Humanity is making sure she doesn’t have to worry about this kind of situation again.
New Castle County Habitat for Humanity broke ground on a new project “Grace Point II” July 24, which will have four new homes on Lake Street in Middletown.
Three of the families who will move into the houses shoveled the ground to ceremonially mark the start of construction on their new homes. Kevin Smith, chief executive officer of NCC Habitat, said they have not picked a fourth family, but they have more than 400 people interested in the residence.
“We know we are not the only solution. We know there needs to be so many affordable houses built,” he said during the ceremony.
Smith said the average mortgage payment on a Habitat home in the county is $650 a month, including taxes and insurance. The average monthly rent of an apartment in the MOT area is nearly double, which is about $1,200, he said.
Tysehsa Urquart of Pike Creek, one of the soon-to-be homeowners, said during the ceremony she is looking forward to her rent being cut in half after waiting years for her turn to get a Habitat house.
“It’s about to be two years, I applied [for a home] on my 30th birthday. My birthday will be next Saturday,” she said. “This is actually the best birthday gift ever.”
Brittni Taylor of Smyrna, one of the future homeowners, said she is happy to finally own a home that will be more affordable.
“[I am happy to be] a role model for my daughter and start new memories in my own house,” she said.
Smith said builders will likely start work in September and finish in March.
Since 2000, Habitat built 32 homes in the Middletown area, and Grace Point II will make it 36. Smith hopes to double that.
“Most of our work is in Wilmington, but we also build along the Route 9 corridor. Ideally, we would like to double our work everywhere, not just in the MOT area,” he said. “But that is totally dependent on the funding.”
Habitat for Humanity ReStores, government grants and donations from private foundations, banks, corporations and individuals fund their projects.
Smith said Lake Street is part of the Downtown Development District designation — a state program that offers incentives to investors who want to revitalize residential, commercial or industrial properties — and he said Habitat expects to get about $140,000 in rebates for the houses.