Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Habitat Dedicates Their 26th Home

(Newburgh) - On Saturday, February 17, family, friends and volunteers gathered at 79 Monument Street to dedicate the newest Habitat home to the Williams family. They gathered to celebrate a new beginning for this hard-working family and they gathered to celebrate the completion of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh’s 26th house, sponsored by the William & Elaine Kaplan Family Charitable Foundation.

Shalanda Williams found Habitat through her aunt, Christine Owens, a Habitat homeowner. Shalanda’s application for a Habitat home includes her 7-year-old son Andreous and her 16-year-old sister Helen. Temporarily disabled from an accident on Storm King Mountain, Shalanda made up time in her sweat-equity requirement by working in the office and helping with committee work. She says she wanted a home because, “I want to give my son a better future and show him that if he believes, his dreams will come true.” Last year, the Kaplan Foundation generously agreed to sponsor one Habitat house each year for the next four years, through a grant totaling $284,000. This incredible gift has given the organization the confidence and the drive to push forward at an accelerated pace. With the number of projects in progress and in planning, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh is looking for ways to work faster and smarter to ensure that they are making a permanent change, not only house-by-house, but neighborhood-by-neighborhood. The Kaplan Foundation’s first year funding supported the new home at 79 Monument Street in the Washington Heights neighborhood, which was part of a three house development that will restore property to the tax rolls of the City of Newburgh. It will also remove an industrial site from an R-1 zone and provide local amenities such as shade trees, green space, sidewalks, and curbs, in the block adjacent to one of the City’s largest schools-South Junior High.

79 Monument Street is nestled between the two Habitat houses that were built in just five days during the 2006 Builders Blitz with the Builders Association of the Hudson Valley, Rieger Homes, EBA Inc., and F&M Homes. “These three beautiful homes have completely transformed what had previously been an abandoned and contaminated brown field. For many years, this lot had been an eyesore to all who past it, but it is now the garden spot of the Washington heights neighborhood,” said Habitat’s Executive Director Deirdre Glenn. With dedicated partners like William Kaplan and the Kaplan Family Foundation, the shared dream of a revitalized Newburgh is becoming more tangible each day.

Pictured Above: Shalanda Williams is overjoyed with her new home as she poses for a photo with William Kaplan.