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‘It's been such a blessing’ | Future Habitat for Humanity homeowner grateful to volunteers

More than 500 women have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento throughout the month of March for the organization’s Women Build event.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — All this month, ABC10 has been partnering with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento in supporting the organization’s Women Build event.

All throughout Women’s History Month, more than 500 women have come out to help build Habitat for Humanity homes for families in need. It’s at Habitat’s Mandolin Estates in Sacramento, where 13 homes are in various stages of construction. Every family receiving one of these homes puts in 500 hours of so-called “sweat equity,” as they work alongside volunteers. 

On Friday, a team from ABC10 came out to help with the build, including Anchor/Reporter Alex Bell and Senior Reporter Becca Habegger.

The neighborhood will eventually be home to some 60 people, 40 of whom are children.

RELATED: Habitat for Humanity breaks ground on affordable housing project in South Sacramento

Kristy is one of those future homeowners. She's a single mom raising four boys and asked ABC10 not to use her last name because of a past relationship.

"I left a toxic marriage. It was definitely a struggle. There was a lot of abuse there,” Kristy told ABC10.

She took her boys and went to live at a WEAVE shelter. Then she tried living with a friend.

“That didn't work out, so I ended up homeless, living in my van with my kids for about four months before I found an apartment,” she said. “It's not a great apartment."

Kristy said she has witnessed two killings there and more than a dozen drive-by shootings. Plus, she said, the apartment has leaks and other problems that aren’t getting fixed, so when she learned her application for a Habitat home got approved, she knew it was a life-changing moment.

RELATED: Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donates $4.5M to Habitat for Humanity in Sacramento

"It's been such a blessing because now I'm moving into a safe neighborhood, safe housing,” she said. “My kids will be able to play outside without me having to worry about drive-bys or anything like that."

Laine Himmelmann is chief development officer with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento and said this affordable homeownership program is so important to the people selected for it.

"This past year, we had over 7,000 families submit pre-applications for 12 available Habitat homes, so, you know, the need for affordable housing in Sacramento is great,” Himmelmann said. “We are one of the least-affordable cities now to live in the entire country, based on the average income and what home prices are and how rents have been skyrocketing, so it’s incredibly impactful for these families.”

She said the families moving into the 13 homes of Mandolin Estates will make a friendly, supportive, and diverse neighborhood.

“We have five single mothers who will be becoming homeowners. We have families that are from Afghanistan, Ukraine, Thailand, Vietnam or who’ve lived in Sacramento their entire life,” Himmelmann said.

To people who give to Habitat for Humanity in any capacity, Kristy has a message.

“Thank you so much to all the people who volunteer their time, their money, their efforts, their help just in anything you do with Habitat to make a community like this possible,” she said.

RELATED: ‘A Light in the Dark’ | Sacramento dance company spotlights homelessness

To learn more about Habitat for Humanity’s efforts and how to volunteer, click HERE.

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