New Morris Habitat Home Going Up in Budd Lake
On September 26th the ground was broken on a new 3-bedroom single-family home that will soon be built on a steep and winding road in the Budd Lake section of Mount Olive Township. This is Morris Habitat for Humanity’s 63rd project and it will be ENERGY STAR certified for energy efficiency. The home will have a 30-year deed restriction that allows modest equity upon resale, but mandates that the home be sold to another qualifying low-income family.
Groundbreaking on a new home is always a very special event that includes all those that will be involved in the project. Besides Blair Bravo, Morris Habitat’s Executive Director, present at the site were Kate Matier, representing Volunteers for Life Coordinator at New York Life; Candace Pallitto and Bridget Zakrzewski, Co-Presidents of Morris Habitat’s Youth United Group; Sabine VonAulock, Director of Morris County Community Development, Lisa Pignataro representing Mt. Olive Mayor Rob Greenbaum. Each of them, along with the future homeowner Celia Falen, have made big commitments to make this home a reality. Also attending were Morris Habitat staff members, volunteers, Board members, and members of St. Judes Youth Group.
Mount Olive Township donated the Lozier Road building lot after purchasing the property with its Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Part of an adjacent lot was added to make the final piece of land conform to zoning rules. A SHOP Grant, New York Life Foundation and Youth United will also help fund this project. Pro bono professional services have been contributed by attorney Paul Zelenty, Esq., architect Marjorie B. Roller, surveyor Rich Smith, engineer Fred Stewart and planner Bruce Katona.
Celia Falen was selected as the prospective homeowner by a lottery held in February 2012. She attended the ground breaking with her daughter Iesha. Her son, Louis, was unable to attend because he was taking classes at Fairleigh Dickenson University at the time.
As proof that sometimes things are meant to be, originally Celia was going to come to Morris Habitat’s Homeowner Orientation just to accompany a friend. When her friend was unable to go, Celia decided to go herself anyway. She filled out an application and, once qualified, was selected by lottery. That decision has changed her life! She is a single mother of two children, both students at local colleges. Celia works as a customer services support representative. The family currently lives in a two-bedroom apartment that has leaks and poor heating. They will be providing 300 hours of sweat-equity, doing some of the physical work, to make their new home. They are very excited to become Habitat homeowners.
It should be mentioned that since parking is limited at the actual site, the whole event took place at Budd Lake Union Chapel’s beautiful facility right on the lake, with Reverend Alan Pirrello provided the invocation. It was a glorious day and wonderful setting for this very special event.
About Morris Habitat for Humanity
Morris Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit housing agency dedicated to providing decent, affordable housing for low-income families in Morris County and the surrounding New Jersey area. Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Morris Habitat builds and rehabilitates houses in partnership with families in need. Since 1985 Morris Habitat has served 249 households though home ownership opportunities, home preservation, and international home building programs. In addition, proceeds from our ReStore, opened May 2007, have built 6 homes and diverted over 2,000 tons of useable material out of landfills. For more information about Morris Habitat call 973-891-1934 or visit www.morrishabitat.org. To learn about the ReStore call 973-366-3358 or go to www.morrishabitat.org.