'A Blessing:' Family to receive first home thanks to Habitat for Humanity
On a quiet cul-de-sac in Fountain, the Rodriguezes' three children will get to grow up.
It's the life Cristina and Saul dreamed of for their kids when they moved to Colorado from Puerto Rico three years ago. A dream that came true Saturday thanks to Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity.
"We're very excited. This is very overwhelming. This is our first home, and we really just can't believe -- this has really been a blessing," Cristina Rodriguez said.
"Decent, affordable housing is a basic necessity of life," said Habitat for Humanity Executive Director and CEO Kris Medina. "Once you have your housing in place, families can be more proactive on their health and their education, and it offers stability."
Medina was beaming at Saturday's house dedication as she talked about what this meant for the Rodriguez children.
"You know, the kids are so fun to watch because we get to watch them grow up in this neighborhood."
Fifteen churches and financial services organization Thrivent Financial came together to build the Rodriguezes' house.
"Our homes run about $150,000 in cost, and so they fundraise to bring all of those funds in, and they provide the labor," Medina explained. "Instead of a three-legged stool, I call it a four-legged stool. Our funding comes from our donors, which donate all of their labor. Then we have corporate and financial -- corporate, individual and faith institutions who donate. Then we have our restore, which provides enough funding to basically fund four houses out of the eight that we build a year. And then our homeowners -- we have what we call the 'Fund for Humanity.' All of our homeowners pay a mortgage on their homes -- it's not given to them -- most of their mortgages run 30 years, and the principal payments they pay to us monthly? We invest in building another home."
"This is an opportunity that everyone doesn't get. It's been a blessing and it's a very special time in our lives. We are very grateful for all the organizations, for our sponsors, Apostles Build and Thrivent, for all the churches that have sent their volunteers -- it's a very humbling experience," Rodriguez said.
Saturday's dedication marked the first day Rodriguez's children got to step inside their new home.
"They've seen it through the windows, but looking at the empty rooms all ready for furniture, clothes and toys to move in -- they're really excited," she said.
Medina said it won't be long before Red Finch Lane is filled with kids. Habitat for Humanity is building 11 more homes in the neighborhood, bringing the total to 34 Habitat homes when they're completed.
"In this neighborhood, we've got 41 total kids, and they all come in and they ride bikes around -- you'll see bikes piled in different yards -- and they get to know each other very quickly. It's a neighborhood immediately."
One Rodriguez can't wait to be a part of -- it will officially be her family's home on Thursday when Habitat for Humanity closes on it.
"There are no words. There are no words. Sacrifice is well worth it."
If you want to help Habitat for Humanity, Medina says the best thing to do is visit their website. There are volunteer opportunities to work at one of the construction sites, ways to donate and more.
Another easy way to help: shop at the ReStore on 411 S. Wahsatch Ave. Portions of the store's revenue goes towards building more Habitat houses!