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.