LANSING | Three new families were welcomed to the village last week as the Chicago South Suburbs chapter of Habitat For Humanity held a dedication ceremony at the Patti Leach Youth Center to celebrate the completion of three rehabbed homes.
Habitat for Humanity acquired and rehabbed the homes in a collective effort with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development.
All three homes had been in foreclosure.
"That's basically what we're tackling right now are the foreclosed homes," said Toyia Peters, board president for the Chicago South Suburbs affiliate. "One of our initiatives is neighborhood revitalization."
The three homes dedicated last week are at 3545 178th St., 18308 Ridgewood Ave. and 17219 Lorenz Ave. The Porter, Seymour and Wilson families will call the new residences home.
Open houses were scheduled to be held at all three homes following the dedication ceremony.
The three families were presented with Bibles, bread, wine, plants and key holders as friends and families gathered for the ceremony at which Melonie Dulaney, Family Development Committee chairman, explained the goal of Habitat for Humanity.
"We are a faith-based organization with a mission of helping families who generally would not qualify for home ownership to attain the American dream of becoming a homeowner by providing simple, decent and affordable housing," Dulaney said. "Habitat for Humanity offers families a hand-up and not a hand-out."
Habitat families are required to contribute a minimum of 400 hours of "sweat equity" as they help with the build or rehab of their future homes.
Nsenga Wilson said it felt "fabulous" to be a first-time home owner. She said it took a year and a half to complete her sweat equity and it was a wonderful feeling to reach completion.
"It makes you work for what you're getting," Wilson said. "It is a lot of hard work that goes into it, but it's definitely worth it in the end."
Village President Norm Abbott attended the dedication and thanked volunteers who worked on the houses.
David Tracy, executive director for the Habitat Chicago South Suburbs affiliate, said Habitat families are chosen very carefully.
"Our families all have to be working," Tracy said. "They have to be able to pay a mortgage and they have to be people that we feel are going to be good neighbors."
Tracy said three other Habitat homes have recently been completed in Lansing.
"And we still need to find three families for those three homes," he said.
Those interested in becoming a homeowner through Habitat for Humanity can call (708) 756-2015 and leave their name and address or visit GoHabitat.net.