June 21, 2014
It was an indescribable feeling as Chauncey Banks opened the door to his new home.
"Finally, I'm able to live the American dream. It just makes you feel wonderful. It's been a great experience," says Banks.
His journey began two years ago when he was encouraged by his adviser Marnie to fill out a Habitat for Humanity application.
"I met Chauncey several years ago and was just inspired by how he worked hard to rebuild his life after some struggles. I couldn't think of anything better than to help him along the road of home ownership," says Marnie Allen, a Habitat for Humanity volunteer.
Advisers serve as a bridge between partner families and the organization making sure houses turn into homes.
"I feel very humbled to be apart of that. It's just amazing, " says Allen.
Saturday's dedication ceremony was a celebration for making it through a long and rigorous process and a thanks to all those that helped.
"Without the help of the community and everybody else it wouldn't be possible. So right now, I'm here. I'm nervous. it's like having a baby. I'm scared, I'm happy, I'm nervous and I'm anxious," says new homeowner Nettie Jones Caldwell.
"Housing is a pathway to much greater things. Housing provides the stability wrapped around a person. It puts a little wind in his or her sails and helps the family dream bigger, think bigger, plan for the future and create a better future for themselves, " says Dan Rosensweig, President & CEO Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville.
Now that homeowners have slowly started to move in, they are dedicated to making the Belmont Cottages a warm and community focused environment.
"I want to have a neighborhood cook out, a welcoming neighborhood cookout with me being the chef," says Caldwell.
When complete, the 15-unit mixed-income neighborhood will feature eight habitat homes and seven single family detached lots which are now for sale to builders and individual purchasers.