On May 19, Habitat welcomed 24 new families into the Homeownership Program and kicked-off what will be a life changing experience for over 40 local children and their parents.

These families were among 275 others who attended application meetings in east Portland in February with the hopes of finding a solution to their deteriorating or unaffordable housing conditions. In four separate meetings, over 194 applications were handed out. Through Habitat’s homeownership selection process, 23 of the most qualified families were accepted into the program, including five families needing ADA accessibility and four families that will escape subsidized housing.

Michael Mansi and his family were among those who were newly accepted. After Michael received his acceptance phone call from Habitat, he immediately got in his car to go see where his family would finally own the home they have dreamed about.

“I had to see where we were going to live,” said Michael. “I wanted to make sure that this was for real, and say thank you to those who were building our home and shake their hands.”

In a welcome meeting held at Central Lutheran Church that brought all the new families together with Habitat staff, families learned the next steps towards homeownership. Here, families were invited to meet each other for the first time as neighbors.

“This is a great opportunity for families to start building a community before joining each other on the build site or moving in,” said Reianna DaRosa, Homeownership Programs Coordinator. “We have families from all different cultures and backgrounds. Knowing that they are all in the program and have the same requirements gives our families something in common. They have the opportunity to learn and grow with their future neighbors from the very beginning.”