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Five Caroline families have a home for the holidays, thanks to Habitat for Humanity

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Five Caroline County families were singing “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” thanks to the 60 volunteers who helped them build their homes through a partnership with Habitat for Humanity.

Homeowner Jessica Miller is especially grateful to be moving into her new home in time for the holidays. She was injured on the first day of construction when the scaffold she was standing on with two other people fell. She had a broken leg that required surgery and couldn’t return to the construction work until recently.

But her dream of homeownership didn’t fall by the wayside. Right away, the Caroline Habitat for Humanity staff and volunteers from Countyline Baptist Church picked up the extra work on her house as the other four homes continued to be built.

“I’m amazed about the people who stepped up to help me,” Miller said. “I missed not being able to come out and be with everybody.”

She had picked out the interior features before the work had started and loved seeing the end results.

Miller began moving into the three-bedroom home in Milford on the last weekend before Christmas, along with her daughter, sister and nephew.

Families partner with Habitat for Humanity in the U.S. and around the world to build better lives for themselves and their children. Applicants who qualify for a home must help with its construction and keep up affordable mortgage payments, with that money being funneled back into the program.

Earlier this month, all of the new homes that were built simultaneously in Caroline over the past year received certificates of occupancy. To celebrate, officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the people who will occupy those homes.

Speaking at the dedication, new homeowner Lisa Stevens was overcome with emotion as she told the crowd about her journey to build her house and four others. As a single mom, she never thought she would qualify to be a homeowner, let alone be able to help build one.

“I always wanted to have a home for my children and grandchildren,” Stevens said. “Now I have that and a new family, the Habitat for Humanity family.”

The new builds mean the Caroline Habitat for Humanity chapter has provided 10 families with 10 homes in two years. This was President and CEO Jason Tiggle’s vision for the local organization when he was hired five years ago.

Recently, Tiggle and the staff moved from a small office to a renovated two-story house that had been used as a business.

Joining the staff is the director of building operations, Macwayne Williams, and the director of family services, Daronte Rollins.

Sixty volunteers worked a total of 5,724 hours helping the homeowners build their homes. Tiggle, Williams and Rollins guided the owners, who had no prior experience in construction, from start to finish.

“We call it sweat equity,” Williams said. “This couldn’t be achieved without the family volunteers, local businesses and organizations who have donated time and materials. It’s a community of unity.”

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