0825HOUSESAUDListen to Martha Garcia and then Blondine Jackson talk about moving into their new Habitat homes.
Blondine Jackson knows exactly how she plans to break in her new house on Black Drive in Gainesville.
"I want everybody to have Thanksgiving dinner at my place," said Jackson, moving into the house with her three grandchildren.
She and Martha Garcia, living a couple yards away behind her house on Cooley Drive, had reason for excitement Sunday.
Area churches and Cargill Inc., working in tandem with Habitat for Humanity of Hall County, dedicated and blessed their homes in a ceremony in Garcia’s front yard.
"There’s really good work going on in this neighborhood ... and there’s going to be more work revitalizing this area, and I definitely think that is of the kingdom of God," said the Rev. Doug Dailey, rector of Grace Episcopal Church.
Grace Episcopal worked on the houses with First Baptist Church on Green Street, Gainesville First United Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church of Gainesville and Prince of Peace Catholic Church. Cargill sponsored the two homes.
Altogether, Habitat has completed 30 homes in Hall.
Some 70 people, including many church members, attended the
ceremony, which featured prayers, a reading of verses from Psalm 118, a litany of dedication and a presentation of a Bible and house keys to Garcia and Jackson.
"I want to thank everybody for helping, everybody who volunteered here," said Garcia, who has two children, ages 3 and 4. "This is my first house, and I am so excited about it. Thank you all and God bless you all."
Jackson also thanked those who helped with the building of her home.
"I love each one of you all, and you’ll be welcome to come to my house anytime," she said.
Hugs and well wishes, as well as plates of cake served at Jackson’s house, followed the ceremony. Garcia and her mother, Maria Diaz, spent a few moments locked in a tearful embrace at Garcia’s front door.
Prospective homeowners must meet certain requirements, including income guidelines, in applying for a Habitat home.
"Need is the No. 1 thing, but (acceptance) is also based on ability to pay," said Robb Owens, Habitat of Hall’s executive director. "They have to buy these houses. It’s zero interest and zero profit, so it’s a real reasonable house payment, and we finance it over 20 years."
Habitat is getting set to break ground on two more houses Wednesday, each one on Browns Bridge Road. Another Habitat house is under construction in Oakwood, Owens said.
The houses are "all real similar," he said. "They’re simple, decent houses, so they are between 1,100 and 1,250 square feet, depending on the size of family."
The Jackson and Garcia houses were "designed particularly for this area to match the existing houses," Owens said. "They’re newer, they’re more modern, but work well with the houses that are already here."
Jackson, who has lived in an apartment for 40-plus years, said she plans to "move in as quick as possible."
Garcia had planned to move in Sunday.
"Everything is packed," she said.