GSHFH celebrates newest homeowners at dedication
On May 23, Natasha and her boys were one step closer to moving into their newly-built Springfield home. On that day, the family, with Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH) staffers, board members, and volunteers, celebrated the completion of construction with a dedication ceremony. More than 35 people attended the event in the backyard of the two-story Bay Street home.
Construction for the home began in Spring 2021. Since that time, more than 150 volunteers from local companies, the military, and school groups helped complete the project. They included
PeoplesBank, MGM Springfield, OMG, Sunbelt Rentals, Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical Academy, and Springfield College Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Chapter.
“Habitat for Humanity, this is really God’s work you’re doing,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. “Many times, in our urban centers, some media will depict negativity. This is the good; the beautiful mosaic in the city of Springfield. You all represent that today. We are so happy to welcome you here to Bay Street and I wish you and your family good health.”
Jim Sherbo, PeoplesBank senior vice president, agreed and encouraged Natasha to pay it forward and give back to the community. He suggested she get involved with the neighborhood and school system and the avenues that led her to purchasing a home through Habitat for Humanity. “Our communities will be better for it,” he said.
Natasha, a single mother with two boys, initially applied for GSHFH Homeownership Program in 2016. Although her application was approved, the family was not selected. She applied again in January 2020. Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the application process closed early. In August 2020, Natasha applied for a third time. Two months later, Natasha learned she and her boys were selected as a new partner family.
Natasha’s home situation was dire at best. The heating, plumbing, and electrical wiring were all faulty. There was a smell to the water, which they wouldn’t use for brushing teeth, drinking, or cooking. The apartment housed bugs, mold, and mice. The radiators in the bedrooms didn’t work and during the winter, the family slept in the third-floor laundry room to keep warm. Natasha’s car had been broken into twice and there was even a shooting across the street.
Thanks to GSHFH, the family won’t have to wait any longer. Natasha closed on her home June 10.
“This has been an amazing journey. It’s been a fun, emotional year-and-a-half. I’ve gotten to meet a lot of amazing people and I’m just grateful for everything,” Natasha said. This is something we have been waiting for and we’re just excited to get in and enjoy it.”
To learn more about the homeownership program, go to habitatspringfield.org/how-to-apply