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WEST SPRINGFIELD — On Monday, July 18, Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH) will host a double in-person dedication ceremony (that will also air on Facebook Live) for two Holyoke homes and two families.

Since construction began in summer 2021, roughly 150 volunteers from local companies and school groups helped complete this project. They include the Holyoke Department of Community Development; the Holyoke Housing Authority; the Holyoke Community Preservation Act Committee; Sunbelt Rentals; PeoplesBank; OMG; Anna Maria College; Meyers Brothers Kalicka; Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan & Blakesley; Citizens Bank; and Restoration Worship Center.

“We are very grateful for the opportunity and partnerships created allowing us to provide more affordable housing in the city of Holyoke. We hope that this is the start of more to come,” said Aimee Giroux, GSHFH executive director.

Single mother Jennifer and her three teenage boys will move into a three-bedroom Greater Springfield Habitat home currently under construction. Since divorcing her abusive husband, Jennifer has strived for a safe and decent affordable home. In her current apartment, her two youngest sons share a bedroom and bed, and the neighborhood they live in is dangerous.

“I see so much better for my children, and I want to be able to provide them a forever home — a place where we will feel safe, stable, happy, and accomplished,” Jennifer said. “We want a place to create beautiful memories for many years to come.”

Ireydiza and her husband, Juan, will soon purchase the other three-bedroom GSHFH home in Holyoke. The couple has two young children. Just four years ago, the family was happy, healthy, and dreaming of buying their first home. Then tragedy struck. A workplace injury disabled Juan and Ireydiza left school to be the sole breadwinner. The family is eager to move forward and out of the apartment, which in the winter is cold in the living room and master bedroom.

“We’ve been trying to leave for a while. This neighborhood has a bad reputation,” Juan said. “We want something different for our kids. We want them to be able to have something where they come home and say, ‘this is our home.’”

GSHFH is a housing ministry dedicated to strengthening communities by empowering low-income families to change their lives and the lives of future generations through homeownership and home repair opportunities. This is accomplished by working in partnership with diverse people, from all walks of life, to build and repair simple, decent, affordable housing. GSHFH has helped more than 100 local families realize their dream of homeownership over the last 35 years.

Daily News

WEST SPRINGFIELD — In September, Purple Heart Homes (PHH), a veterans-services agency that focuses on housing solutions, asked Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH), a nonprofit and non-governmental organization, if it would like to collaborate on a home-preservation project. Peter, a retired Army National Guard staff sergeant, and his wife, Beth, purchased a duplex in Monson three years ago. They live in one unit. Beth’s daughter and young son live in the other residence. Both units needed repair.

GSHFH’s Home Preservation Program provides affordable microloans to qualifying homeowners who need help with accessibility modifications, home weatherization, general home repairs, yard cleanup, and landscaping. Greater Springfield Habitat sent staff to assess the three areas of concern — a moss-spotted roof, a broken water heater in the daughter’s unit, and damaged exterior doors at both dwellings.

“We are always happy to work cooperatively with Purple Heart Homes to improve the living conditions for an area veteran and his or her family,” said Deborah O’Mara, Family Services manager. “By teaming up, we can do much more than either organization could ever do alone. When we are finished, the Wiggins family will have a fully functional and weathertight home in which to live.”

Matt Stevenson, director of PHH’s Veteran Home Opportunity Program, agreed.

“For Purple Heart Homes, our partnership with GSHFH for Peter’s home remodel/repair project is a significant force multiplier for our organization. This collaboration bridges both our organizations’ strengths, and together, we’re able to assist more veterans in our communities,” Stevenson said. “This is the second veteran project PHH has completed with Greater Springfield Habitat, and we look forward to a continued partnership in the future.”

The roof, siding, and water-heater issues were addressed in December. Exterior doors for side entrances and the basement are on order.

“My house was looking like the Amityville Horror house, but now it sparkles like Disneyland,” Peter said. “The moss on the roof, gone, The mossy steps in the front, gone. An excellent job worthy of praise and kudos.”

Daily News

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Fall Feastival, Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity’s (GSHFH) biggest fundraiser of the year, will take place on Thursday, Nov. 4 starting at 5:30 p.m. at Twin Hills Country Club in Longmeadow. At $50 a ticket — a $25 savings from previous years — the evening promises hours of fun and networking opportunities.

This year marks the event’s 20th year. Attendees can enjoy sweet and savory samplings from local restaurants, including Nadim’s Downtown Mediterranean Grill, Elegant Affairs, Twin Hills, and Mamma Mia’s, and bid on live and silent auctions to win featured prizes such as four tickets to see the Boston Bruins play the Edmonton Oilers on Nov. 11 with four passes to Legends — the private, members-only restaurant at TD Garden — and an overnight stay at Red Lion Inn in the Berkshires.

“We are so thrilled to have this event in person once again and look forward to a great evening of fun, food, and live and silent auction items. A huge thank you to our many generous event sponsors, including Dietz & Company Architects,” said John O’Farrell, GSHFH fundraising and volunteer coordinator. “The collective support of our donors, community partners, and volunteers truly make our building projects possible throughout Hampden County. We hope to see everyone at Twin Hills on Thursday, Nov. 4.”

Daily News

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Springfield’s Sinai Temple and the Jerome S. Gurland Human Relations Award Committee recently selected Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH) as the 2021 award recipient. GSHFH Executive Director Aimee Giroux met with Rabbi Jeremy Master on May 26 to accept the honor.

Award namesake Rabbi Gurland of Longmeadow, who passed away on May 20, had been a beloved member of the community and an advocate for community service and interfaith relations.

“Our committee was most impressed with your proposal for the affordable home-ownership project on Bay Street in Springfield. We are very pleased with your partnership with Putnam Vocational High School. By partnering with your organization, students will be able to help someone within their own community,” Master said on behalf of the committee. “Sinai Temple’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity a few years ago reminds us of the pride we felt working with you.”

Added Giroux, “we are honored to have been selected to receive this award. The funds will be used to promote community involvement, primarily with youth volunteers through construction on our Bay Street project. We want to create a lasting tribute to the rabbi’s memory, and we want to honor our donors and volunteers. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to reach our mission.”

GSHFH is a housing ministry dedicated to strengthening communities by empowering low-income families to change their lives and the lives of future generations through home ownership and home-repair opportunities. This is accomplished by working in partnership with diverse people, from all walks of life, to build and repair simple, decent, affordable housing. GSHFH has helped roughly 100 local families realize their dream of home ownership over the last 34 years.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH) is now accepting applications for a new, three-bedroom home in Holyoke. Construction will begin this year. The deadline to apply is June 10. For more information, including an application, visit habitatspringfield.org.

“My hope is that every lower-income family that wants to own their own home knows about the GSHFH home-ownership program,” said Deborah O’Mara, GSHFH Family Services manager. “With all kinds of support from staff and volunteers, these selected partner families successfully work toward closing, and after, they live many happy years in their own homes.”

GSHFH is a housing ministry dedicated to strengthening communities by empowering low-income families to change their lives and the lives of future generations through home ownership and home-repair opportunities. This is accomplished by working in partnership with diverse people, from all walks of life, to build and repair simple, decent, affordable housing. Habitat’s mission to provide homeownership opportunities to low-income families is unique as it requires partner families to work alongside the community that is reaching out to help them. GSHFH has helped roughly 100 local families realize their dream of homeownership over the last 34 years.

Daily News

WEST SPRINGFIELD — The Habitat for Humanity Women Build Week event, sponsored by Lowe’s, is an opportunity to spread the positive and powerful message of “women helping women” and facilitate in building stronger and safer communities.

During the weeklong event, which began March 8, women from all walks of life and skill levels have come together to work on a job site. Under the guidance of construction professionals, the group learns new skills and/or adds to their repertoire.

At Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH), the event has been a staple for several years teaming up with Lowe’s. This year, GSHFH has partnered with Western Mass. Tradeswomen to empower and encourage women volunteers to become involved on the build site.

“This is an awesome opportunity to showcase the skills of women and prove gender shouldn’t dictate capability,” said Brandice O’Brien, Marketing and Communications manager at GSHFH. “Whether the women on these build sites are construction workers or volunteers, they are simply ‘women helping women.’ The house they are working on is for a single mother.”

Western Mass. Tradeswomen is a network of female construction workers in Western Mass., Northern Conn., and Worcester. The majority of the women are in unions. They meet regularly to support one another, build their labor movement, and promote union construction careers for girls and women. The group began several years ago on the construction site of what is now MGM Springfield, where, because of a project labor agreement, workforce-diversity goals were consistently met by contractors.

“It has been a joy to get to work on a project with my sisters this week. We are skilled professionals, we love what we do, and it has been really fun to get to share that together,” said Amy Calandrella of Western Mass. Tradeswomen, who organized the tradeswomen volunteers for this year’s Women Build Week. She is a journeyman operating engineer with International Union of Operating Engineers Local 98 and serves on the board of the Western Massachusetts Area Labor Federation.

During Women Build 2021, GSHFH construction crew and volunteers are working on a two-story, four-bedroom house in Springfield for single mother Ana and her children. Volunteers help with inside finish work, painting, installing cabinets and countertops, building the front-porch rails, and putting in the walkway.

GSHFH is a housing ministry dedicated to strengthening communities by empowering low-income families to change their lives and the lives of future generations through homeownership and home-repair opportunities. This is accomplished by working in partnership with diverse people, from all walks of life, to build and repair simple, decent, affordable housing. Habitat’s mission to provide homeownership opportunities to low-income families is unique as it requires partner families to work alongside the community that is reaching out to help them. GSHFH has helped roughly 100 local families realize their dream of homeownership over the last 33 years.

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