December 24, 2013
Signs the holidays are upon us can be spotted around the Sunrise community in Charlottesville. For six families in the neighborhood, it's the first time they've been able to decorate with wreaths and Christmas trees as homeowners.
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville helped makes their new spaces a reality.
It's been nearly a year since Habitat bought Sunrise Trailer Court near the Belmont-Carlton neighborhood. After a massive transformation, half a dozen families are first-time homeowners.
"It's always special around the holidays when you get to see families celebrating Christmas in their homes for the first time," said Dan Rosensweig, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville.
Habitat for Humanity bought Sunrise Trailer Court nearly a decade ago. Over the years, the site has been transformed from a 16-unit trailer park to a mixed-income, mixed use community that will consist of 66 homes and a neighborhood center.
Rachel Mayo moved into one of the homes with her two sons, cat, dogs and fish.
"Someday it was going to be the goal that I would do this," said Mayo. "And what's made it better is that I did this with my own. You know, somebody didn't just give it to me. I worked for it."
Mayo applied a few times before she was selected. She had to work hard at improving her credit score.
"Don't give up. Never give up," she said.
Rosensweig says that's what makes the diverse neighborhood so special -- its residents are working hard to help themselves and others.
"We had a vision a long time ago, but what you see in this neighborhood is more than just homes, is more than just apartments. It's people -- people working together to build a really wonderful place for themselves and their neighbors," said Rosensweig.
The combined effort is allowing families like the Mayos and so many others to have a place of their own, not only for the holidays, but the whole year through.
For more information about Sunrise, click HERE.