Left: The Habitat for Humanity groundbreaking Saturday was celebrated by (from left) Father Jarlath Dolan of St. Maximilian’s Catholic Church, Santa Paula City Councilman Martin Hernandez, Ventura County Supervisor Kathy Long, Habitat Executive Director Steve Dwyer and soon to be Habitat homeowners Liliana Chavez and Erik Chavez. Right: Home is where the heart is and Father Jarlath Dolan (middle) asked future homeowners (left and right) Erik and Liliana Chavez to help him with the blessing of the ground where their Habitat for Humanity home will be built.

Habitat for Humanity: Groundbreaking held for eight single-family homes

April 09, 2014
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula Times There’s no place like home and at least one couple that will be occupying a Habitat for Humanity residence was on hand for Saturday’s groundbreaking and blessing of the Cemetery Road development.

The eight, single-home development will be built with donations, grants and sweat equity of the buyers who must work alongside professionals and volunteers to build the home they otherwise would not be able to afford.

The property is across from Santa Paula Cemetery and just west of Fagan Barranca; the development will add street, sidewalks, lighting and landscaping to the area as well as allow the city to improve a nearby walking path that connects to Main Street.

Erik and Liliana Chavez of Santa Paula were on hand for the groundbreaking and blessing of the property that will hold their future home. 

Erik, a former Marine, and his wife have two small girls.

“Yes, we’re really excited,” said Erik, “it means a lot to us.”

Steve Dwyer, the executive director of Habitat, said the property was purchased two years ago for “Deserving families who will help build their own homes.” 

He noted to Erik and Liliana Chavez that where the guests are seated, “Is just about where your new home will be.  They’ve waited a long time for this to get started.”

Habitat’s mission is “Turning God’s love into action,” through building “homes, communities and hope... “ 

Dwyer thanked numerous supporters including the Santa Paula City Council, County of Ventura, St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church (which donated the funds for its sixth Habitat house), Thrivent Financial and California Lutheran University among others.

Thrivent is Habitat’s largest national sponsor donating $12 million to Habitat projects throughout the US and $100,000 to the local project.

“Today we will participate in breaking ground of one of the most powerful investments a community can make in the life of another person,” said Supervisor Kathy Long. 

“... homeownership, a sense of belonging to a community and a chance to feel hope for the future,” is that investment an one that Long noted was supported by the county with an investment of about $1.2 million culled from Community Development Block Grant and HOME Funds.

Long said “It will take many hands to build a house, but only hearts can truly build a home... but, before you pick up that hammer,” she noted, “what every homeowner needs to remember is WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop!”

Santa Paula City Councilman Martin Hernandez noted the city’s contributions to the project both with morale and monetary support.

He thanked Habitat, “for investing in the community” and noted in Santa Paula the need for housing and its positive influence on family members is great.

Projects such as Habitat and the families that will be able purchase the homes they help build themselves along with volunteers said Hernandez, “All remind us of what community is... “

Father Jarlath Dolan of St. Maximilian’s Church asked Erik and Liliana Chavez to help bless the land before the groundbreaking ceremony for Santa Paula’s newest housing development.

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