House has accessibility modifications for homebuyer’s 13 y.o. daughter who has cerebral palsy
On November 10, Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna held a dedication ceremony in Havre de Grace for the Habitat home built by volunteers. The future homeowner is LaTera Lawhorn, a single mother of two daughters (ages 13 and 8), one of whom has cerebral palsy. The home has accessibility modifications such as a ramp, chair lift, and a bedroom ceiling lift unit to help LaTera care for her daughter.
Dedication ceremonies celebrate the completion of the homeownership process with the Habitat homebuyer, volunteers, donors, sponsors, Board members, Habitat staff and community members. They offer the public an opportunity to tour the home, and are held before Habitat homebuyers to go settlement.
“This ceremony is a celebration of LaTera’s hard work and determination as she realizes the dream of homeownership,” said Habitat Susquehanna’s Executive Director, Yvonne Golczewski. “LaTera, you have put in a tremendous effort to buy this home for your family. Every nail you drove, every class you took, every dollar you saved were all for a safe, secure and stable place for you and your family to call home. You have a whole lot to be proud of. May you find your happiest days here.”
Pastor Hogue and Kathy Choka of City of God, Highway to Zion church gave the opening prayer and house blessing.
During the ceremony, Golczewski recognized the following house sponsors: Bob Ward Trademark Custom Homes, Builders Build, Fulton Forward Foundation, Habitat for Humanity International, Harford County Government, Harford Mutual Insurance Group, Maryland Affordable Housing Trust, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development – Community Legacy, Rotary District 7620 & Rotary Club of Aberdeen, Wells Fargo, Women Build Teams & Sponsors, Altus Group, Allan Myers, APGFCU, Bel Air United Methodist Church, Coldwell Banker Realty Cares Foundation, Decisive Data Systems, Dilworth Trucking & Excavating, Donley Construction LLC, The Dresher Foundation, Gutter Guys, Home Builders Care Foundation, PNC Foundation, Saint Margaret Parish, Wegmans, and Whiting-Turner.
Habitat Susquehanna’s Community Engagement Manager, Michele Louderback, told the attendees that over 3,000 volunteer hours contributed to the building of this home. Earlier in the year, staff from the Harford Academy (formerly known as the John Archer School) came out to volunteer and contributed the maximum allowable limit — 100 Friends & Family hours — in a show of support for this family, whose older daughter attends their school. Habitat Susquehanna’s longtime “Core Volunteers” worked approximately 1,300 of those 3,000 previously-mentioned volunteer hours. (They’re referred to as “Core Volunteers” at Habitat Susquehanna because they help on a regular basis, often weekly, and are the foundation of the volunteer program.)
The ceremony ended with the presentation of the house key by Jim Diel, Site Construction Supervisor, and the traditional ribbon-cutting at the front door.
Habitat homes are not free. Habitat Susquehanna offers homebuyers an affordable mortgage with monthly payments and these mortgage payments made by the Habitat homeowners help build more affordable homes. Each applicant who partners with Habitat Susquehanna (such as LaTera) must complete 250 hours of “sweat equity” before move-in day, building their home or the home of another Habitat homebuyer. They also attend mandatory financial education classes to learn good money management skills. LaTera will be purchasing her home through a Habitat mortgage made affordable specifically for her.
Currently, only four percent of Habitat Susquehanna’s building materials are donated. The remaining 96 percent are purchased through financial donations, necessary to keep Habitat’s program going. By holding fundraisers and having volunteers build these homes, Habitat Susquehanna helps keep costs low and creates an opportunity for someone who couldn’t afford a home the traditional way. Volunteer and financial support helps more families, like LaTera’s, achieve their dream of owning their own home.
About Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna, Inc.
Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna, Inc. is an ecumenical Christian housing organization devoted to building, renovating and repairing houses in partnership with the community in Cecil and Harford counties. Since its inception in 1993, Habitat Susquehanna has served over 700 families through its Homeownership, Repair and Financial Literacy programs. For more information, call 410-638-4434 (Harford County) or 410-398-3399 (Cecil County), or visit www.habitatsusq.org.