Habitat for Humanity dedicates 'House That Bel Air Built'

It may take love to make a family, but it takes plenty of faith and community support to build a house for that family to live in, according to Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna.

Habitat Susquehanna dedicated the first house the organization has ever built in Bel Air on Friday morning, filling Giles Street with a joyful celebration.

Neighbors and friends, as well as various community leaders, were on hand and eager to support members of the Crouse family as they were handed the keys to their new home at 404 Giles, a project Habitat leaders named "The House That Bel Air Built."

Holly Crouse and her husband, Roger, thanked the many people and groups who helped to make the new house happen for them and their seven children: Camryn, Kendall, Brooklyn, Mackenzie, Colton, Preston and Bryson.

"It wasn't some job they were just nailing the nails in. They really cared about what they did," Holly Crouse said about the volunteers involved in the project that began during the winter.

Although she and Roger both work, Holly Crouse said in a statement that they had trouble finding a home they could afford.

"I always knew God had a plan for us," she told the crowd, holding back tears. "I want you all to know that you are standing on God's plan right now."

A special art piece was also unveiled on the front porch as part of Bel Air's "Hearts of Harford" project, which has put large painted hearts around town.

The Rev. Barry Hidey of Bel Air United Methodist Church blessed the house and presented Bibles to the family.

"Protect their going out and going in," Hidey said during the house blessing. "From our faith and our dreams and our hard work, this house became a reality."

The home is the 71st that Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna has built since its inception just 20 years ago.

More than 300 volunteers worked on the Crouses' home, including many from the Bel Air community and employees of town government. The "House That Bel Air Built" was erected on the site of a vacant and deteriorating house that was razed to make room for the new dwelling.

Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna Director Karen Blandford recognized sponsors with some gifts, including major contributor Harford Mutual Insurance Companies, the Greater Bel Air Community Foundation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Town of Bel Air.

Habitat Susquehanna is part of Habitat for Humanity International, which builds housing for low-income families around the world.

Homeowners are also required to put in at least 250 hours of "sweat equity" and must meet income requirements and demonstrate the ability to repay Habitat's mortgage.

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