SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The keys to a new home were the key to a new life for three families, who are now on their way to forming a new community.
"I'm so excited," said new homeowner Miriam Smalls. "I'm overjoyed. I'm a single mother of three, so it's very important. I'm very grateful just to have that kind of support."
Coastal Empire Habitat for Humanity placed three families in new homes, side-by-side in Tatemville, where their common opportunity will provide shared security.
"Home ownership is a critical part of creating a neighborhood and a community," said Harold Tessendorf, executive director of the Coastal Empire Habitat for Humanity. "And the research shows that children that grow up in houses that their parents own are more likely to succeed at school, graduate on time and secure good jobs. That allows them to break the cycle of poverty."
The three homes awarded Tuesday will help continue a cycle of opportunity that the local Habitat for Humanity has created by providing 241 safe and affordable homes since 1983.
"When the house is complete, we sell it at no profit and no interest to the partner family," said Tessendorf. "Their monthly mortgage payments get added to more donations and mortgage payments of other homeowners and that allows us to construct more houses."
And these homeowners, who contributed their own labor to their new houses, are excited to now help the process move forward.
"I would like to thank them all for giving us a chance and an opportunity," said Mary Johnson, who also took possession of one of the new homes. "And I would like to keep going forward and help other families make their dream come true of home ownership."